"As I mused, the fire burned"

Reflection on life as a person of faith.

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

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The origin of the O Antiphons is not clearly known, but is ancient. Wikipedia puts it sometime in the 6th Century.  The title ‘O Antiphons’ is a bit perplexing, since the word antiphon is not really used in our daily discourse.

Antiphon is a musical term that means response by another voice (in the Greek, literally ‘opposite voice’).  The title ‘O Antiphons’ refers to a series of responses that begin with ‘O’.  Almost everyone in the western world is familiar with the O Antiphons through the hymn, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”.

The antiphons are usually said in response to the Magnificat, Mary’s canticle (My soul doth magnify the Lord…).  The subject of the antiphons is Jesus, with each antiphon reflecting a messianic term used by the prophet Isaiah.  This Sunday (Advent 4) our Gospel reading is the Magnificat, so it is entirely appropriate that the sermon be built around those seven responses.

More detail is on this website about St Julian of Norwich.  Here you can listen to the chant setting for each of the antiphons.

The Antiphons

December 17

O WISDOM, who came from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from end to end and ordering all things mightily and sweetly: COME, and teach us the way of prudence. Amen. “O Sapientia…”

December 18

O LORD AND RULER of the House of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the flame of the burning bush and gave him the law on Sinai: COME, and redeem us with outstretched arms. Amen. “O Adonai…”

December 19

O ROOT OF JESSE, that stands for an ensign of the people, before whom the kings keep silence and unto whom the Gentiles shall make supplication: COME, to deliver us, and tarry not. Amen. “O Radix Jesse…”

December 20

O KEY OF DAVID, and Sceptre of the House of Israel, who opens and no man shuts, who shuts and no man opens: COME, and bring forth the captive from his prison, he who sits in darkness and in the shadow of death. Amen. “O Clavis David…”

December 21

O DAWN OF THE EAST, brightness of light eternal, and Sun of Justice: COME, and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. Amen. “O Oriens…”

December 22

O KING OF THE GENTILES and their desired One, the Cornerstone that makes both one: COME, and deliver man, whom you formed out of the dust of the earth. Amen. “O Rex…”

December 23

O EMMANUEL, God with us, Our King and Lawgiver, the expected of the nations and their Saviour: COME to save us, O Lord our God. Amen. “O Emmanuel…”


Written by sameo416

December 19, 2015 at 9:48 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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