Mercy transforms us
“O Key of David and Scepter of the house of Israel, you open and no man closes; you close and no man opens. Come, and deliver him from the chains of prison who sits in darkness and in the shadow of death.”
Christ comes as king to take back the world from the power of Satan. He has the authority and power to free us from the slavery of sin and darkness. By his resurrection, he continues to do so today. He willed to give us the Sacrament of Confession and the Eucharist to carry on this work century after century. Through the sacraments, Christ still heals and transforms us.
Do I truly believe that Jesus can give me freedom and fullness of life? Or do I see it as a distant reality, as if God only did great things for others but not me? Reflect on the Sacrament of Confession and the Eucharist. They are clear and efficient in breaking the chains of our sins. Have I been to confession during the Advent season? There is still time. Have I received the Eucharist without preparing my heart throughout the week? Prepare better. Ask God to reveal to you the areas of your life that are still in darkness and encounter his powerful grace through these sacraments.
Jesus, you are the key to real freedom. Lead me out of the darkness of sin and ignorance. Break my chains so that at my life’s end, I may confidently say: “There is nothing in me that is not yours.”
|What are the “O Antiphons”?
FR. WILLIAM SAUNDERS
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.
The exact origin of the O Antiphons is not known. Boethius (c. 480-524) made a slight reference to them, thereby suggesting their presence at that time. At the Benedictine abbey of Fleury (now Saint-Benoit-sur-Loire), these antiphons were recited by the abbot and other abbey leaders in descending rank, and then a gift was given to each member of the community. By the eighth century, they are in use in the liturgical celebrations in Rome. The usage of the O Antiphons was so prevalent in monasteries that the phrases, Keep your O and The Great O Antiphons were common parlance. One may thereby conclude that in some fashion the O Antiphons have been part of our liturgical tradition since the very early Church.
The importance of O Antiphons is twofold: Each one highlights a 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. Also, each one refers to the prophecy of Isaiah of the coming of the Messiah.
Let’s now look at each antiphon with just a sample of Isaiah’s related prophecies :
O Sapientia: 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. Isaiah had prophesied, 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), and Wonderful is His counsel and great is His wisdom. (Isaiah 28:29).
O Adonai: O sacred Lord of ancient Israel, who showed yourself to Moses in the burning bush, who gave him the holy law on Sinai mountain: come, stretch out your mighty hand to set us free. Isaiah had prophesied, But He shall judge the poor with justice, and decide aright for the lands afflicted. He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. Justice shall be the band around his waist, and faithfulness a belt upon his hips. (Isaiah 11:4-5); and Indeed the Lord will be there with us, majestic; yes the Lord our judge, the Lord our lawgiver, the Lord our king, he it is who will save us. (Isaiah 33:22).