>O Antiphons: Day One: O Sapientia


Today begins the O antiphons –
ancient prayers that help prepare us,
our hearts and souls, for the coming of the real Christmas.

O Wisdom, who come from the mouth of the Most High (Sirach 24:5),
you extend to the ends of the earth, and order all things with power and sweetness (Wisdom 8:1):
come and teach us the way of wisdom (Proverbs 9:6).

For you latin geniuses: here you go, you’re welcome:

O SAPIENTIA, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti,
attingens a fine usque ad finem fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia:
veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.

The “O” antiphons begin today! This is a venerable tradition during this advent season, really beautiful, lesser known it seems to me. To see a great link explaining this ancient advent tradition – sort of an old countdown to Christmas – go to Sandro Magister’s place, here.

These are just possibly the original inspiration for Dick Clark’s gig (and really right about the right era…so I’m just saying. Ok, kidding, it’s an old-folks joke. I’m entitled, check out my hair…). Now, I must put a disclaimer in here. I was raised in the era when teaching kids about the truths of our faith and the Church meant spending Sunday school classes making felt banners, by which I mean that I learned little to nothing as a kid and it’s been an steep learning curve as an adult. So forgive my ignorance (but go to the sites to actually learn something from folks who know) and bad jokes, it’s been a long punchy day I can’t help it.

Really, this is one of the advent traditions and prayers that sneak up on me and I haven’t ever really learned much about it. I always hear them about halfway through, day three or four and think “huh, what are those again?” Well, not this year by golly. This year I’m gonna pay attention, so, you get to as well, if you like.

The short version is this:

From today until the day before Christmas Eve, at the Magnificat during vespers in the Roman rite, seven antiphons are sung, one per day, all of them beginning with an invocation to Jesus, although he is never called by name.

The antiphons are very old, going back to the time of Pope Gregory the Great, around the year 600. They are in Latin, and are inspired by the texts of the Old Testament proclaiming the Messiah.”

I know, another Catholic thing. But really, this time of year is so rich and layered and gorgeous. It’s the beginning of the liturgical year and it’s simply glorious. Catholic Culture website also has a good explanation. So, check it out. Enjoy. {And just for the record: the prayers during these days are copied from Sandro Magister’s site, thank you, and the pics are random classics but also from excellent sources such as Godzdogz and other great Catholic sites.}

h/t American Papist

2 thoughts on “>O Antiphons: Day One: O Sapientia

  1. >Of course, most everybody knows the slightly modified version of the O antiphons, compiled into a single Advent chant 2-300 years later (1100 years ago):”Veni, veni Emmanuel!Captivum solve Israel!”(O come, O come Emmanuel!and ransom captive Israel!)Sorry — Did one of your links say that already? I was too lazy to look!?!I’m coming up in a minuteILYT

  2. >Thank you for this beautiful gift of insight into these most blessed words to prepare our hearts. I, too, am a “cradle” Catholic. I am loving so much of what God is sharing with me as an adult…but, seems it has been a long time coming, and, I yearn to know and spend time with Him daily….I understand the regrets and sadness of a childhood where cut and paste was the way to learn to love God with all our heart, soul and mind. I am praising God for being patient with me:)!!!May your family truly experience a peaceful and blessed Advent season. Come, Lord Jesus, come.


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