Thursday, December 17, 2009

The "O Antiphons" of Advent

You will hear talk about the "O Antiphons" of Advent.  Antiphons precede the recitation of the Magnificat each evening when Vespers is prayed.  However, the Great Antiphons from December 17th through the 23rd begin with the interjection, "O". 

These antiphons are good to reflect on as we come closer to Christmas. 

Here is the antiphon for December 17th:
O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti, attingens a fine usque ad finem fortiter, suaviterque disponens omnia: veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae

And one translation of it:
O Wisdom, who proceeds from the mouth of the Most High, reaching out mightily from end to end, and sweetly arranging all things: come to teach us the way of prudence.

This is what is in my breviary:
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.
That last translation doesn't even come close to the Latin.  Based on what I am seeing in this online lectionary, both correspond to the same Latin.  Perhaps some day....

Even if you don't pray the Divine Office every day, you might consider praying the Magnificat.  And, if you would like to pray the Office and don't have a breviary, you can use Universalis (click on Evening Prayer at the top).  The translation comes from the New Jerusalem Bible, I believe, and so it may not be proper for those who are required to pray the Office, such as priests, to use this particular translation. What makes it nice, especially for those who don't know how to pray it, is that the electronic versions flow well without having to flip around to different parts of a book, which is what people struggle with when learning.

Further reading and reflections on the O Antiphons:

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!