O Antiphons

O Antiphones

Evening prayer for the 7 days leading up to Christmas Eve contains a special focus. The Antiphon for the evening Canticle of Mary starts with the mystery of Salvation History. It starts with creation and completes with Emmanuel – God is with us!

The Canticle of Mary is given especially heightened emphasis as her great “Yes” to the Lord comes to fruition in the birth of the Son of God, Son of Man. This Magnificat prayer is directly from scripture Gospel of Luke (1:46-55). Stylized version below:

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.

From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.

He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly farmer’s foot.

He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever

Below each O Antiphon and a mini reflection on each. Perhaps this can be your evening prayer leading up to Christmas Eve?

December 17
O Wisdom of our God Most High, guiding creation with power and love: come to teach us the path of knowledge!
Reflection: From the dawn of creation the Lord God had but one purpose, to share his infinite love. When we contemplate creation and even contemplate love itself, it is the Wisdom of God that informs us and makes intelligible his plan.

We desire to know. We desire to know him. Know him as like a Mother holds a baby. Mary held Emmanuel in her loving arms. Simeon did as well. So shall you, my friends.

My Soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord….

December 18
O Leader of the House of Israel, giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai: come to rescue us with your mighty power!
Reflection: The Lord God rescues us from our folly. We have this tendency to enslave others. The entire nation of Israel needed to be freed. Through His mighty power He freed them and gave Moses the Law on Mount Sinai.

The Law serves two purposes: to alert us to our negative tendencies (shall not) and to bring us to our highest perfection, to wit, Keep Holy this Day of the Lord. Mary keep and the fruit is her Son.

My Soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord….

December 19
O Root of Jesse’s stem, sign of God’s love for all his people: come to save us without delay!
Reflection: The Lord God has never forgotten. Wait on the Lord, He shall not delay. The Root of Jesse, long thought dead (400 years of no prophets speaking!). Yet now, through the earth or root of Mary comes Emmanuel.

My Soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord….

December 20
O Key of David, opening the gates of God’s eternal Kingdom: come and free the prisoners of darkness!
Reflection: The darkness of man is over. We are prisoners no longer to ignorance. Knowing God incarnate shall make us like Moses. We shall walk with God as one walks with a friend (Ex 33:11). Mary is the first to speak to Jesus. What did she say?

My Soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord….

December 21
O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death.
Reflection: We live under the shadow of death. Each of us facing that final justice. May this Perpetual Light shine on us in this life and the life to come! May justice, the Justice Mary proclaims in her song, be ours in this Emmanuel!

My Soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord….

December 22
O King of all nations and keystone of the Church: come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!
Reflection: We are dust and to dust we shall return. But not just dust. Breath. Rûaħ. You, O God, have made this dust with your own breath. Save your breath so closely knitted and integrated within us as Emmanuel is knitted within Mary.

My Soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord….

December 23
O Emmanuel, our King and Giver of Law: come to save us, Lord our God!
Reflection: Divine Love. Save us as only love can save. Let us learn to love as the way Mary beheld her son.

My Soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord….

Peace be with you!

Deacon Gerry

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