[#16 in the series This Week in English Catholic History: Week of December 16 – 22]
HIS week in English Catholic History, we examine the O Antiphons, which in the Ordinariate are sung during Evening Prayer on December 17-24 (in the Ordinariate’s Office) or 16 -23 depending upon what Office is used and are based on the Messianic prophecies of Isaiah.
O Sapientia, December 17; see Isaiah 11:2-3, Isaiah 28:29, Sirach 24:1-5, Wisdom of Solomon 8:1
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.
O Adonai, December 18; see Isaiah 11:4-5, Isaiah 33:22; Exodus 3:2; Exodus 24:12
O Adonai, and leader of the House of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush and gave him the law on Sinai: come and redeem us with an outstretched arm.
O Radix Jesse, December 19; see Isaiah 11:1, Isaiah 11:10, Isaiah 45:14, Isaiah 52:15, Micah 5:2, Romans 15:12
O Root of Jesse, standing as a sign among the peoples; before you kings will shut their mouths, to you nations will make their prayer: come and deliver us, and delay no longer.
O Clavis David, December 20; see Isaiah 22:22, Isaiah 9:7, Isaiah 42:7
O Key of David and scepter of the House of Israel; you open and no one can shut; you shut and no one can open: come and lead the prisoners from the prison house, those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.
O Oriens, December 21; see Isaiah 9:2, Isaiah 60:1-2, Malachi 4:2
O Radiant Dawn, splendor of light eternal and sun of righteousness: come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.
O Rex Gentium, December 22; see Isaiah 9:6, Isaiah 2:4, Isaiah 28:16, Isaiah 64:8, Ephesians 2:14
O King of the nations, and their desire, the cornerstone making both one: come and save the human race, which you fashioned from clay.
O Emmanuel, December 23; see Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:22-23
O Emmanuel, our king and our lawgiver, the hope of the nations and their Savior: come and save us, O Lord our God.
O Virgo Virginum, December 24; see Song of Songs 1:5, Memorare, Luke 2:5-6
O Virgin of virgins, how shall this be? For neither before thee was any like thee, nor shall there be after. Daughters of Jerusalem, why marvel ye at me? The thing which ye behold is a divine mystery.
Apparently originating in or prior to the Sixth Century, the O antiphons appear both in the Breviarum Romanum, the Church of England’s Common Worship liturgy and now in the Divine Office of the Ordinariates of Anglicanorum coetibus.
Note: If you would like to pray the O Antiphons as part of Evening Prayer, please visit prayer.covert.org
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Written by Mr. John Burford, IV and Dr. Foster Lerner of Incarnation Catholic Church in Orlando, Florida; a parish of The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter © 2018.
John (wearing purple tie, above) is the founder and owner of Magnolia Prep, an SAT and ACT tutoring business with branches in several major US cities. Foster (wearing golden tie, above) holds a Doctorate in Medicine from Nova Southeastern University Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine, and is currently pursuing post-graduate studies in medicine.