Printables (Advent)

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O Antiphons

Sung at Vespers during the last seven days of Advent, each “Great O” Antiphon is one of the names/attributes of Christ.


December 17

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

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.

Image notes:
Wisdom, the Owl, bears branches of Mountain Ash berries, which are folk symbols of prudence.



December 18

O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel,
qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti,
et ei in Sina legem dedisti:
veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.

O Lord, 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.

Image notes:
The burning bush is traditionally depicted as a bramble.



December 19

O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum,
super quem continebunt reges os suum,
quem Gentes deprecabuntur:
veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli tardare.

O Root of Jesse, standing as a sign among the peoples;
before you kings will shut their mouths,
to you the nations will make their prayer:
Come and deliver us, and delay no longer.

Image notes:
The pomegranate’s many seeds, unified in the single fruit, represent the people.  Doves were often featured in historical depictions of Jesse Trees (symbolizing the gifts of the Holy Spirit); here, Mary & Christ, as doves, nestle at the top of the tree.



December 20

O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel;
qui aperis, et nemo claudit;
claudis, et nemo aperit:
veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris,
sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

O Key of David and sceptre 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.

Image notes:
King David compares himself to the patridge – the “calling bird” – in 1 Samuel.  



December 21

O Oriens,
splendor lucis aeternae, et sol justitiae:
veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

O Morning Star,
splendor of light eternal and sun of righteousness:
Come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

Image notes:
December 21st is also the date of the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere.



December 22

O Rex Gentium, et desideratus earum,
lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum:
veni, et salva hominem,
quem de limo formasti.

O King of the nations, and their desire,
the cornerstone making both one:
Come and save the human race,
which you fashioned from clay.

Image notes:
The pomegranate symbolizes the nations.  The juniper calls back to 1 Kings 19, where Elijah – fearful, exhausted, feeling totally defeated – hides under a juniper tree…but is greeted upon waking by an angel delivering the strength and nourishment he needs to continue on.



December 23

O Emmanuel, Rex et legifer noster,
exspectatio Gentium, et Salvator earum:
veni ad salvandum nos, Domine, Deus noster.

O Emmanuel, our king and our lawgiver,
the hope of the nations and their Saviour:
Come and save us, O Lord our God.


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