The Great O Antiphons
• Warping into light speed.
• The “O Antiphons” refer to the seven antiphons that are recited (or chanted) preceding the Magnificat during Vespers of the Liturgy of the Hours.
• The Octave before Christmas, December 17th to December 23rd,
• The Benedictine abbey of Fleury recited these antiphons by the abbot and other abbey leaders in descending rank, and then a gift was given to each member of the community.
• “Keep your O” and “The Great O Antiphons” were common parlance.
• Each one highlights a title for the Messiah:
o O Sapientia (O Wisdom),
o O Adonai (O Lord),
o O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse),
o O Clavis David (O Key of David),
o O Oriens (O Rising Sun),
o O Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations), and
o O Emmanuel.
• Facets of a Diamond
• 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.”
o Jesus is the Word through whom the universe was created.
o Jesus came to make all things new.
• O Adonai: “O sacred Lord of ancient Israel, who showed yourself to Moses in the burning bush, who gave him the holy law on Sinai mountain: come, stretch out your mighty hand to set us free.”
o Jesus is the giver of the Law, its source, and its fulfillment.
o Jesus is the new Moses
• O Radix Jesse: “O Flower of Jesse’s stem, you have been raised up as a sign for all peoples; kings stand silent in your presence; the nations bow down in worship before you. Come, let nothing keep you from coming to our aid.”
o Jesus is the king of kings and the Lord of Lord’s.
o He is the true king and the perfect leader.
• O Clavis David: “O Key of David, O royal Power of Israel controlling at your will the gate of Heaven: Come, break down the prison walls of death for those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death; and lead your captive people into freedom.”
o Jesus is the judge of the living and the dead.
o He has come to open heaven’s gate, shut by Adam and Eve, and to lead us into the new promised land, into which Moses was not allowed to go.
• O Oriens: “O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.”
o Light of the world you stepped down into darkness – open my eyes let me see. Beauty that made this heart before your – hope of a life spent with you.
o Jesus is the light of the world that dispels the darkeness of sin.
o He is the incarnation of hope!
• O Rex Gentium: “O King of all the nations, the only joy of every human heart; O Keystone of the mighty arch of man, come and save the creature you fashioned from the dust.”
o Jesus is the perfect human being.
o Just was on looks at a puzzle box and imitates the image; Jesus is the perfect image that allows us to judge our humanity.
• O Emmanuel: “O Emmanuel, king and lawgiver, desire of the nations, Savior of all people, come and set us free, Lord our God.”
o Our God is a mighty God, he reigns in heaven above.
• If one starts with the last title and takes the first letter of each one– Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, and Sapientia– the Latin words ERO CRAS are formed, meaning, “Tomorrow, I will come.”