KITCHEN TABLE CHATS

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I have worn many labels (Not in any particular order): Catholic, Wife, Mom,Gramma, Doctor, Major, Soccer Mom, Military Wife, Professor, Fellow.

All of these filter my views of the world. I hope that like St. Monica, I can through prayer, words and example, lead my children and others to Faith.
"The important thing is that we do not let a single day go by in vain without putting it to good use for eternity"--Blessed Franz Jägerstätter

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Octave Before Christmas

O Sapientia: “O Wisdom, O holy Word of God, you govern all creation with your strong yet tender care. Come and show your people the way to salvation.” Isaiah had prophesied, “The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord, and his delight shall be the fear of the Lord.” (11:2-3), and “Wonderful is His counsel and great is His wisdom.” (28:29).

I mentioned that last week’s Catholic Carnival has a an outstanding post on the Liturgy of the Hours. I love the idea of a daily rhythm of prayer. I wish I could say that I followed this pattern regularly. I don’t. However, for the next week I am going to make an extra effort to participate in Vespers or evening prayer. Today we begin the “O Antiphons”.

The “O Antiphons” refer to the seven antiphons that are recited (or chanted) preceding the Magnificat during Vespers of the Liturgy of the Hours. They cover the special period of Advent preparation known as the Octave before Christmas, Dec. 17-23, with Dec. 24 being Christmas Eve and Vespers for that evening being for the Christmas Vigil.

The exact origin of the “O Antiphons” is not known. Boethius (c. 480-524) made a slight reference to them, thereby suggesting their presence at that time. At the Benedictine abbey of Fleury (now Saint-Benoit-sur-Loire), these antiphons were recited by the abbot and other abbey leaders in descending rank, and then a gift was given to each member of the community. By the eighth century, they are in use in the liturgical celebrations in Rome. The usage of the “O Antiphons” was so prevalent in monasteries that the phrases, “Keep your O” and “The Great O Antiphons” were common parlance. One may thereby conclude that in some fashion the “O Antiphons” have been part of our liturgical tradition since the very early Church.

The importance of “O Antiphons” is twofold: Each one highlights a title for the Messiah: O Sapientia (O Wisdom), O Adonai (O Lord), O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse), O Clavis David (O Key of David), O Oriens (O Rising Sun), O Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations), and O Emmanuel. Also, each one refers to the prophecy of Isaiah of the coming of the Messiah

So in keeping with my intent to truly celebrate Advent, I will try to mark the octave before Christmas with the “O Antiphons”.

3 comments:

Mrs Jackie Parkes MJ said...

Wonderful post...

liturgy said...

I love the O Antiphons
and have three reflections on them at
http://www.liturgy.co.nz/index.html
Yesterday I added a link to online resources for the Liturgy of the Hours at http://www.liturgy.co.nz/ofthehours/resources.html
Your readers may find that link helpful as "Liturgy of the Hours"
Thank you for your link also

Advent blessings

Bosco
http://www.liturgy.co.nz

Pru said...

I found this exact wording at the following link:

http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/religion/re0374.html