By the Very Reverend Stanley Galvon, Rector of the Cathedral
Part of our church’s Advent liturgy since the sixth century A.D., are verses known as the “O antiphons”. The writer drew seven titles of God from the Old Testament which express the people’s yearning for the coming of the Messiah.
These days the O Antiphons are prayed as the Alleluia verse in the liturgy of the Word at Mass during the last week of Advent, and also within Evening Prayer of Liturgy of the Hours. Most of us will recognize them as the foundation of the popular Advent hymn “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.
Through the liturgy, family devotions and personal prayer, the O Antiphons can serve as a beautiful way to prepare for the feast of Christmas. Here is a list of the O Antiphons; it is a great prayer resource to ponder:
Dec 17 O Wisdom, you proceeded from the Most High and you arrange all that exists. (Sirach 24.3, and Wisdom 8.1)
Dec 18 O Lord and Leader of the House of Israel, come and redeem us (Exodus 3.2, Deuteronomy 5)
Dec 19 O Root of Jesse, you stand as a sign for the peoples (Isaiah 5.15, Habakkuk 2.3)
Dec 20 O Key of David, come and break down the walls of sin and death (Isaiah 22.2, Psalm 107.14)
Dec 21 O Radiant One, come and enlighten those lost in darkness (Zechariah 3.8, Wisdom 7.26)
Dec 22 O King, the Only joy of every human heart (Jeremiah 10.7, Genesis 2.7)
Dec 23 O Emmanuel, Saviour of all people (Isaiah 33.22, Zechariah 9.9)