Monday, December 17, 2007
Veni Veni Emmanuel
THE "O ANTIPHONS" CROWN OF ADVENT PREPARATION
(From The Twelve Days of Christmas, Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN,
The theme of the Advent season has been one of joyous expectancy
as the Church, in vigilant preparation, waited and watched for
the first signs of the coming of the Lord. The very name Advent,
and the Masses of the four Sundays with their urgent plea to
Christ to "hasten and delay not" have reminded us that we are
awaiting His coming in grace at Christmas, and in glory at the
end of time.
On the evening of December 17 the last and most intensive phase
of Advent preparation begins. On this evening is inaugurated the
first of the Great "O's" of Advent. The "O Antiphons" are seven
jewels of liturgical song, one for each day until Christmas Eve.
They seem to sum up all our Advent longing as they paint in vivid
terms the wretched condition of mankind and his need of a Savior.
Addressing Christ with seven magnificent titles, they beg Him
with mounting impatience to come to save His people.
The "O Antiphons" are intoned with special solemnity in monasteries
at the Vesper Hour, before and after our Lady's great song of
thanksgiving, the Magnificat, which is sung every evening as the
climax of this Hour of the Divine Office. But in recent years
families interested in the liturgy have discovered these gems of
poetry and have used them as part of their family evening prayers,
sometimes in conjunction with the "O Antiphon House." This is a
little house which can be bought or constructed simply; it has
seven sealed windows, each masking an appropriate symbol for the
different "O Antiphons," and an eighth window hiding the Christmas
scene. These windows are opened one by one each day at the singing
of the antiphon. The Twelve Days of Christmas Kit contains an "O
Antiphon" Tower which the children can cut out and put together.
Wisdom that comest out of the mouth of the Most High, that
reachest from one end to another, and orderest all things mightily
and sweetly, come to teach us the way of prudence!
O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti, attingens a fine
usque ad finem, fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia: veni ad
docendum nos viam prudentae.
My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God
my Savior. For He hath regarded the humility of His handmaiden.
For behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For He that is mighty hath done great things to me, and holy is His
Name. And His Mercy is from generation unto generations upon them
that fear Him.
He hath shown might in His arm, He hath scattered the proud in the
conceit of their heart. He hath put down the mighty from their
throne, and hath exalted the humble. He hath filled the hungry
with good things, and the rich He hath sent empty away.
He hath received Israel, His servant, being mindful of His
mercy. As He spoke to our Fathers, to Abraham and his seed
- Repeat Antiphon:
Wisdom that comest.....
or O Sapientia....
- Sing "O come, O come Emmanuel"
or "Veni, veni Emmanuel"