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O Antiphons

From at least the eighth century the antiphon before and after the Magnificat at Vespers (Evening Prayer), for the seven days leading up to Christmas Eve, has greeted Christ with a title starting with “O”. These became the basis of the popular carol “O come, O come, Emmanuel”. The initials, when read backwards, form the Latin “Ero Cras” which means “Tomorrow I come.”

They are now also used , in shorted form, in the Alleluia verses before the days’ Gospel readings.

Each day an O Antiphon could be used for prayer and reflection. These could form the basis of an Advent service with readings, music, and singing. Or of art, banners, or other ways of enhancing the worship environment symbolically. The carol “O come, O come, Emmanuel” and the Magnificat could form significant features in this.

17 December – O Sapientia – O Wisdom

O wisdom, coming forth from the Most High, filling all creation and reigning to the ends of the earth; come and teach us the way  of truth.
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

O Sapientia,
quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti,
attingens a fine usque ad finem fortiter,
suaviterque disponens omnia:
veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.

Ecclesiasticus 24.3-9 Proverbs 1:20; 8; 9 and 1 Corinthians 1:30

O come, thou wisdom from on high
Who madest all in earth and sky,
Creating us from dust and clay:
To us reveal salvation’s way.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
shall come to thee, O Israel.

18 December – O Adonai – O Lord of might

O Lord of Lords, and ruler of the House of Israel, you appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush, and gave him the law on Sinai: come with your outstretched arm and ransom us.
Amen. Come Lord Jesus.

O Adonai,
et dux domus Israël,
qui Moyse in igne flammae rubi apparuisti,
et ei in Sina legem dedisti:
veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.

Exodus 3.1-6; Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:6

O come, O come, Adonai,
who in thy glorious majesty
from Sinai’s mountain, clothed in awe,
gavest thy folk the ancient law.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, O come, thou Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times didst give the law
In cloud and majesty, and awe.

19 December – O Radix Jesse – O Root of Jesse

O root of Jesse, standing as a sign among the nations; kings will keep silence before you for whom the nations long; come and save us and delay no longer.
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

O Radix Jesse,
qui stas in signum populorum,
super quem continebunt reges os suum,
quem gentes deprecabuntur:
veni ad liberandum nos,
jam noli tardare

O root of Jesse, that stands for an ensign of the people, before whom the kings keep silence and unto whom the Gentiles shall make supplication: come, to deliver us, and tarry not.

Isaiah 11.1-4a,10; Romans 15:12; Revelation 5:5

O come, thou root of Jesse! Draw
the quarry from the lion’s claw;
from those dread caverns of the grave,
from nether hell thy people save.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, O Rod of Jesse free,
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory o’er the grave

20 December – O Clavis David – O Key of David

O key of David and sceptre of the House of Israel; you open and none can shut; you shut and none can open: come and free the captives from prison, and break down the walls of death.
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

[…come, and lead the prisoner
from jail.
seated in darkness
and in the shadow of death.]

O Clavis David,
et sceptrum domus Israël,
qui aperis, et nemo claudit,
claudis, et nemo aperuit:
veni, et educ vinctum
de domo carceris,
sedentem in tenebris,
et umbra mortis.

Isaiah 22:22; Revelation 3:7

O come, thou Lord of David’s key!
The royal door fling wide and free;
safeguard for us the heavenward road,
and bar the way to death’s abode.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.

21 December – O Oriens – O Dawn

O morning star, splendour of the light eternal and bright sun of righteousness: come and bring light to those who dwell in darkness and walk in the shadow of death.
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

O Oriens,
splendor lucis aeternae,
et sol justitiae:
veni, et illumina
sedentes in tenebris,
et umbra mortis.

Numbers 24.15b-17; Luke 1:78, 79; Malachi 4:2

O come, O come, thou dayspring bright!
Pour on our souls thy healing light;
dispel the long night’s lingering gloom,
and pierce the shadows of the tomb.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Dayspring, come and cheer,
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.

22 December – O Rex Gentium

O king of the nations, you alone can fulfil their desires: cornerstone, binding all together: come and save the creature you fashioned from the dust of the earth.
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

O Rex Gentium,
et desideratus earum,
lapisque angularis,
qui facis utraque unum:
veni, et salva hominem,
quem de limo formasti.

Jeremiah 30.7-11a; Revelation 15:3; Psalm 118:22; Isaiah 28:16; Matthew 21:42; Mark 12:10; Luke 20:17; Acts 4:11; Ephesians 2:20; I Peter 2:6

O come, desire of nations! Show
thy kingly reign on earth below;
thou cornerstone, uniting all, restore the ruin of our fall.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.

23 December – O Emmanuel

O Emmanuel, our King and Lawgiver, hope of the nations and their saviour: come and save us, O Lord our God.
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

O Emmanuel,
Rex et legifer noster,
expectatio gentium,
et Salvator earum:
veni ad salvandum nos,
Domine, Deus noster.

Isaiah 7:14; 8:8; Matthew 1:23; Haggai 2:7

O come, o come, Emmanuel!
Redeem thy captive Israel,
that into exile drear is gone
far from the face of God’s dear Son.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
shall come to thee, O Israel.
O come, o come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here,
Until the Son of God appear.

*****

“Veni, veni Emmanuel” (“Come, O come Emmanuel”)

The text to this Advent song is 9th c.; the music is 15th c. French.

English Version: O Come, Emmanuel
Veni, veni, Emmanuel
captivum solve Israel,
qui gemit in exsilio,
privatus Dei Filio.

Gaude, gaude, Emmanuel
Nascetur pro te, Israel.

Veni, O Sapientia,
quae hic disponis omnia,
veni, viam prudentiae
ut doceas et gloriae.

Gaude, gaude, Emmanuel
Nascetur pro te, Israel.

Veni, veni, Adonai,
qui populo in Sinai
legem dedisti vertice
in maiestate gloriae.

Gaude, gaude Emmanuel
Nascetur pro te, Israel.

Veni, O Iesse virgula,
ex hostis tuos ungula,
de spectu tuos tartari
educ et antro barathri.

Gaude, gaude Emmanuel
Nascetur pro te, Israel.

Veni, Clavis Davidica,
regna reclude caelica,
fac iter tutum superum,
et claude vias inferum.

Gaude, gaude Emmanuel
Nascetur pro te Israel.

Veni, veni O Oriens,
solare nos adveniens,
noctis depelle nebulas,
dirasque mortis tenebras.

Gaude, gaude Emmanuel
Nascetur pro te Israel.

Veni, veni, Rex Gentium,
veni, Redemptor omnium,
ut salvas tuos famulos
peccati sibi conscios.

Gaude, gaude Emmanuel
Nascetur pro te Israel

*****

Come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
that morns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

O come, Thou Wisdom, from on high,
and order all things far and nigh;
to us the path of knowledge show,
and teach us in her ways to go.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

O come, o come, Thou Lord of might,
who to thy tribes on Sinai’s height
in ancient times did give the law,
in cloud, and majesty, and awe.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse’s stem,
form ev’ry foe deliver them
that trust Thy mighty power to save,
and give them vict’ry o’er the grave.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
and open wide our heav’nly home,
make safe the way that leads on high,
that we no more have cause to sigh.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

O come, Thou Dayspring from on high,
and cheer us by thy drawing nigh;
disperse the gloomy clouds of night
and death’s dark shadow put to flight.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

O come, Desire of the nations, bind
in one the hearts of all mankind;
bid every strife and quarrel cease
and fill the world with heaven’s peace.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

Reflection from Br Jerome

Reflection from Anglicans Online 2005
An outline example and resources for an Advent Eucharist
Advent in the Southern Hemisphere

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