O Antiphons

From December 17 through the 24th the introductions to various parts of the liturgy for each day include a specific antiphon with a title for God drawn from the Scriptures. Each addresses God, beginning with the address “O,” hence referred to as the “O” antiphons. These medieval antiphons form a wonderful series of Advent meditations. Added below each title is a contemporary reflection on each title. Some of the medievalists pointed out an interesting acrostic. The first letters of the Latin titles spell out the words: Ero cras. – So on Christmas Eve, the praying believer gets God’s response: “Tomorrow. I will be there.” KS

We will be publishing one each day:


O God with us(December 23)
The best for last – God you are with us. Let’s pause long enough to enjoy and rejoice – as we began – to imbibe your wisdom. When it comes to your wisdom it’s o.k. to drink too much

Rex Gentium

O King of the Nations (December 22)
Not of a single nation, but of all the nations you are sovereign. Why do we waste our prayers in asking you, our King, for victory, dominion and status over other nations? Aren’t you their king also? Aren’t their people also made in your image and likeness. Shouldn’t we be praying for peace and justice for all peoples and all nations?


O Rising Dawn & Morning Star (December 21)
Today is the longest night, the darkest day. And with brash hope, we declare you our morning star and rising dawn. And, behold, tomorrow there will be more of your light. Thank you.

Clavis David

O Key of David (December 20)
Lots of treasures, lots of power must have been under King David’s dominion. Jesus, I’m glad you’ve got the key. Jesus. Please, open the door to your treasures for us. Protect us with your power.

Radix Jesse

O Root of Jesse (December 19)
Jesus – Did you do “23&me” to discover that David and Jesse were your ancestors? I’m glad you let me be your brother and share your own father with me. Son of Man & Son of God – I’m glad you’re both – thanks.


O Lord and Ruler (December 18)
Sometimes we Christians too glibly say your name. Maybe we can learn from our Jewish sisters and brothers to be a bit humble and halting in speaking your name. You know, I’m thinking it’s probably more important that you call our name than we call yours. Come, we’ll be quiet, and listen!


O Wisdom (December 17)
Where are you? Are you playing hide and seek with us? In our world, our nation, our church, I’m having a hard time finding you. We really need you and, please, feel free to bring your sisters, prudence and understanding.

Our Advent prayer:

“O Wisdom, ruler, root, key, dawn, king –
Be with us, God!”

God’s Answer:

“Tomorrow, I will be there!”

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