Today begins the Great O Antiphons. These are seven prayers that are traditionally recited or sung on successive evenings starting on December 17. These will be posted each day here for you to read, pray and even sing if you like. Here is a brief history:
The precise origin of these texts is unknown. However, by the 8th and 9th centuries, the church in Rome and monastic communities throughout western Europe were using them at evening worship services during the season of Advent. These ancient supplications beautifully express the Christian church’s profound yearning for her long expected SAVIOR. They continue to be part of the seasonal devotions of many churches today. The Great O Antiphons form the basis of the popular Advent hymn, O Come, O Come, Emmanuel by English hymnographer John Neale.
~ Saunders, Rev. William. …What are the ‘O Antiphons’?“
The Great O Antiphons are rich in meaning and nuance. Each antiphon begins with the acclamation …O,“ addresses CHRIST by one of HIS messianic titles from the Old Testament, and ends with a heartfelt plea for HIS coming. The sequence of the antiphons is theologically precise, progressing from before the creation of the universe, through the messianic prophecies of Israel, and culminating with the Incarnation and birth of CHRIST in Bethlehem.
We encourage you to meditate on these each evening with your family, roommates, and friends. Read the Scriptures, pray them as prayers and listen to your favorite version of O Come, O Come Emmanuel.
With that said, here is today’s antiphon:
DECEMBER 17 | O SAPIENTIA
…O Wisdom, who came from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from end to end and ordering all things mightily and sweetly: come, and teach us the way of prudence. Amen.“
And the SPIRIT of the LORD shall rest upon HIM, the SPIRIT of wisdom and understanding, the SPIRIT of counsel and might, the SPIRIT of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. And HIS delight shall be in the fear of the LORD.
~ Isaiah 11:2-3 || ESV
This also comes from the LORD of hosts; HE is wonderful in counsel and excellent in wisdom.
~ Isaiah 28:29 || ESV
Corresponding verse from the Advent hymn, O Come, O Come, Emmanuel:
Oh, come, our WISDOM from on high, WHO ordered all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show, And teach us in her ways to go.
Rejoice! Rejoice! EMMANUEL, Shall come to you, O Israel!
Today’s reading is from Luke 18
The Parable of the Persistent Widow
And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. 2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. 3 And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ 4 For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” 6 And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. 7 And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? 8 I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
The Pharisee and the Tax Collector
9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Let the Children Come to Me
15 Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 17 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
The Rich Ruler
18 And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’” 21 And he said, “All these I have kept from my youth.” 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 23 But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. 24 Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! 25 For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” 27 But he said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” 28 And Peter said, “See, we have left our homes and followed you.” 29 And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.”
Jesus Foretells His Death a Third Time
31 And taking the twelve, he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. 32 For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. 33 And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.” 34 But they understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.
Jesus Heals a Blind Beggar
35 As he drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36 And hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what this meant. 37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” 38 And he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39 And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 40 And Jesus stopped and commanded him to be brought to him. And when he came near, he asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me recover my sight.” 42 And Jesus said to him, “Recover your sight; your faith has made you well.” 43 And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.