O antiphons.

 

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I thought I would share the O Antiphon.   It is a hidden gem used mainly in the monestic tradtion and it is where I first came across it I am doing it a week early as Christmas week when it used I know people will not be onliune or at leaast I hope they will not be online!

So over the coming week look out for the meditation ready for Christmas.  

In the Church’s Liturgy of the Hours, Evening Prayer, also know as Vespers, always includes the great prayer of Mary known as the Magnificat.   Each day, the Magnificat is preceded by a short verse or “antiphon” that links the prayer to the feast of the day or the season of the year.  In the last seven days of Advent (December 17-24), the antiphons before the Magnificat are very special.  Each begins with the exclamation “O” and ends with a plea for the Messiah to come. As Christmas approaches the cry becomes increasingly urgent.

 

These moving “O Antiphons” were composed in the seventh or eighth century when monks put together texts from the Old Testament which looked forward to the coming of our salvation. They form a rich, interlocking mosaic of scriptural images. The great “O Antiphons”  became very popular in the Middle Ages when it became traditional to ring the great bells of the church each evening as they were being sung.

 

A particularly fascinating feature of the O Antiphons is that the first letter of each invocation, when read backwards, forms an acrostic in Latin: the first letters of Sapientia, Adonai, Radix, Clavis, Oriens, Rex, and Emmanuel in reverse form the Latin words: ERO CRAS.  These can be understood as the words of Christ, responding to his people’s plea, saying  “Tomorrow I will be there.”

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