The O Antiphons ~ hope for the Messiah

The season of Advent is almost finished, and the Church is especially preparing for Christmas the last seven days of Advent with the “O Antiphons.” The Roman Catholic Church has been singing the antiphons, named after the first word of each verse, since the 8th century.

The O Antiphons, or Great Antiphons, are the verses prayed prior to the recitation of the Magnificat in the Evening Vespers of the Liturgy of the Hours. You will also hear them
during the Alleluia Acclamation from December 17-24.

Each antiphon uses Old Testament imagery of messianic hope. The use of the word “come” in each antiphon expresses the longing for the Divine Messiah.

They are listed here so that you, too, may meditate upon them in preparation for the celebration of Christ’s birth.

December 17

O Wisdom of our God Most High,
guiding creation with power and love:
come to teach us the path of knowledge!

December 18

O Leader of the House of Israel,
giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai:
come to rescue us with your mighty power!

December 19

O Root of Jesse’s stem,
sign of God’s love for all his people:
come to save us without delay!

December 20

O Key of David,
opening the gates of God’s eternal Kingdom:
come and free the prisoners of darkness!

December 21

O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice:
come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the
shadow of death.

December 22

O King of all nations and keystone of the Church:
come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!

December 23

O Emmanuel, our King and Giver of Law:
come to save us, Lord our God!

December 24 (Eighth antiphon used in the Alleluia Acclamation

O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death.

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