December 17, 2016 – O Antiphons

We are entering the darkest days of the year. Dec. 21 is the Winter solstice which is the longest night and shortest day of the whole year (in the Northern Hemisphere anyway). Over the past few days we have taken the opportunity to see how our prayer can lead to action. There are concrete and practical ways that our short 3 minutes of prayer each day can bring us closer to Jesus but also closer to creation and one another. I think we can definitively say that Advent is an appropriate time for action even while we anticipate Jesus’ coming.

From Dec. 17 – Dec 23 the Church has a beautiful tradition of singing/chanting/saying the O Antiphons. You all probably know them, or at least one of them. They are the what inspire the verses of the common, beautiful Advent hymn “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” (this is a slightly different rendition than you may have heard before, but it’s one of my favorites).

The O Antiphons date way back, some scholars believe the 8th Century way back. They are a walk through salvation history, looking at the Messianic promises God made to the Israelites throughout the Old Testament. After the promise we join in Israel’s longing for the Messiah to “Come” and save His people. Each day until Christmas we will join this ancient prayer of the Church and consider what these words mean for our daily life.

O Wisdom of our God Most High,
guiding creation with power and love:
come to teach us the path of knowledge!

O Wisdom, or O Sapientia in Latin, is the first O Antiphon. It brings us all the way back to the beginning, before the beginning actually. We recall that Jesus, the Savior, has always been the Savior even before there was a physical world that needed saving.

“In the beginning was the Word [Jesus] and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:1-5).

Before you and I were born, before our world was created, God was ready to save us. God He was “guiding creation” with almighty power and unending love to the very moment when Jesus was conceived within Mary. Is it so hard to believe that He continued to guide creation, continues to provide a path for us even now, while we await the 2nd coming of Jesus?

*** Please feel free to share your experience, thoughts and offer support to one another in the comments, on Twitter with the #DailyGraces or on the Facebook pageDaily Graces.



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