We are coming into the final week before Christmas, and at evening Vespers, the “O” Antiphons will be chanted.
These were apparently composed in the seventh or eighth century when monks put together texts from the Old Testament, particularly from the prophet Isaiah, which looked forward to the coming, in flesh, of our salvation.
Each of the O Antiphons highlights a different title for the Messiah: O Sapientia (O Wisdom), O Adonai (O Lord), O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse), O Clavis David (O Key of David), O Oriens (O Rising Sun), O Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations), and O Emmanuel. Each one refers to the prophecies of Isaiah.
When we sing “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” during Mass in Advent, its roots go a lot deeper than being sung as a common hymn in the back of the hymnal. This connection to the early days of the Church is a fitting reminder of the rich patrimony that Catholicism embraces and connects us to our inheritance and is preserved as Our Lord promised “…until the end of the ages…”
We will be presenting the antiphons, in order, from today until the the 23rd.