Wednesday, 17 December 2008

The O Antiphons

From today the character of Advent changes, and the season is more focused on preparation for the great feast of the Lord's birth. In these days before Christmas the Church gives us seven beautiful antiphons, based on seven titles of Christ, which are sung at Vespers before and after the Magnificat. Each day in this period there will be Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at 5pm and sung Vespers and Benediction at 5:30pm (except Sunday: Exposition and Rosary at 4pm, Vespers and Benediction at 4:40pm).

The antiphons address the Lord using these seven titles:

17th December: Sapientia (Wisdom)
18th December: Adonai (Lord)
19th December: Radix Jesse (Root of Jesse)
20th December: Clavis David (Key of David)
21st December: Oriens (Rising Sun)
22nd December: Rex Gentium (King of the Nations)
23rd December: Emmanuel

The antiphons in Latin contain a hidden promise: starting with Emmanuel and working backwards, the initials of each title spell 'Ero Cras' - the Latin meaning 'Tomorrow I will be'. In these days of Advent we invoke the Lord in song and He responds by coming to meet us.