One of the things I love about the church year is that it offers a richness of historical tradition, and numerous ways of ruminating on Truth. The “Great O” Antiphons, as they are called, are additional verses added to the singing of the Magnificat during Advent, and they each elaborate on one of the “mysterious” names of Christ from Isaiah. Others have written about the history and significance of these verses much more eloquently than I, and I encourage you to read through these and enjoy praying them in the last few days before Christmas, as we reach a crescendo, imploring Him to “Come!”.
The “Great O” Antiphons:
December 16th: O Sapientia
O Wisdom, who didst issue out of the mouth of the most High, and dost reach from one end of the world to the other, mightily and sweetly ordering all things: Come and teach us the way of prudence.
December 17th: O Adonai
O Lord and ruler of the house of Israel, who didst appear to Moses in a burning bush, and didst give him the law on Sinai: Come and deliver us with an outstretched arm.
December 18th: O Radix Jesse
O Root of Jesse, who standest for an ensign to the peoples, at whom kings shall shut their mouths, and to whom the gentiles shall pray: Come and deliver us, and do not delay.
December 19th: O Clavis David
O Key of David, and Scepter of the house of Israel; who openest and no one shutteth, who shuttest and no one openeth; Come and bring the prisoners out of the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death.
December 20th: O Oriens
O Day-Spring, radiant everlasting Light, and Sun of Righteousness: Come and enlighten those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death.
December 21st: O Rex Gentium
O King of the Nations, and their Desire; the Cornerstone who dost unite the divided into one: Come and save mankind, whom thou didst create out of clay.
December 22nd: O Emmanuel
O Emmanuel, our King and Lawgiver, the One whom the Gentiles expect, and their Salvation: Come and save us, O Lord our God.
Sonnets written by contemporary poet and priest, Malcolm Guite, with accompanying reflections.