We are looking forward to wonderful Lessons and Carols Service this evening. You can catch it online if you can’t make it back to church this evening: https://stmarycharlevoix.com/media/livestream/
Below is the first Antiphon for today, December 17. Have a blessed night.
Is there order in my life?
“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.”
This antiphon speaks to us of the beauty of creation. God created all things with order, strength and gentleness through his Word. This same creating Word has become flesh and has come to us to show us the way to salvation. He has come to touch the depths of our being, our problems, doubts, weaknesses, and difficult situations. He is the answer to our concerns. It is he who gives order to our scattered life.
God created everything in order. Therefore, it is not surprising that we lose peace when something is out of order in our life. What aspects of my life do I need to tidy up? It may be something material like our room: the exterior also influences the interior. It may be our relationship with someone else. It may be our relationship with God. What is constantly taking his place in your life? What can you do to improve it? Identify an area or priority that needs to be put back in the right order of things and take a small step to fix it: make the bed, make that phone call, pray… And ask God to help you, in his wisdom, to bring order to your whole life. He has the power to untie the most complicated of knots. Trust in him.
Lord, you who have ordered everything firmly and gently, come and bring order to the corners of my life that are messy. Show me the way to salvation!
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).