Saturday, December 17, 2011

Fourth Week of Preparation for Christ's Birth

“O Antiphons”
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 season 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.
The last and most intense phase of Advent preparations begins on the evening of December 17.  The “O Antiphons” are seven liturgical prayers, sung or recited at Evening Prayer on each day from December 17 through December 23.  They seem to sum up all our Advent longing as they paint in vivid terms the condition of mankind and the need for a Savior. 
Addressing Christ with seven magnificent titles, the antiphons ask Him to come and save His people.  Each refers to a Messianic prophecy of  Isaiah and can be sung to the familiar melody of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.”.

December 17:  O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from one end to the other mightily, and sweetly ordering all things: Come and teach us the way of prudence.
"The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord." Is. 11: 2-3
♫ O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
Who orderest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go. (Refrain)

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