Wednesday, 17 December 2008

O Sapientia


I was told sternly the other day that I was not to put up the crib until the O antiphons start. I then realised that, other than the names of each one, I had little idea why or what they were. And even my idea of the definition of an antiphon was somewhat hazy.

So for those who wallow in ignorance similar to mine, Fr William Saunders explains:

"The “O Antiphons” refer to the seven antiphons that are recited (or chanted) preceding the Magnificat during Vespers of the Liturgy of the Hours. They cover the special period of Advent preparation known as the Octave before Christmas, Dec. 17-23, with Dec. 24 being Christmas Eve and Vespers for that evening being for the Christmas Vigil."

Right, now I see. And each of these is named after a title for the Messiah and refers to one of the prophecies of Isaiah. So, today we start with:

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, O holy Word of God, you govern all creation with your strong yet tender care. Come and show your people the way to salvation.)

"The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord, and his delight shall be the fear of the Lord.” ( Isaiah 11:2-3).

I'm still not sure why the crib had to wait til today though.

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