The last seven evenings of Advent, from tomorrow to Dec. 23, are traditionally spent praying a set of ancient prayers called the “O Antiphons.” Each night addresses Christ by a different title, based upon the Messianic prophesies in the Book of Isaiah. Most people are familiar with these titles from the hymn, O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, which is based upon the O Antiphons:
- Dec 17: O Sapientia (O Wisdom),
- Dec 18: O Adonai (O Lord),
- Dec 19: O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse),
- Dec 20: O Clavis David (O Key of David),
- Dec 21: O Oriens (O Rising Sun),
- Dec 22: O Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations), and
- Dec 23: O Emmanuel
The first letter of each Messianic title, read from Dec. 23 backwards, spells “ero cras,” or “Tomorrow, I come,” which is fitting, since the next night is the Christmas Vigil.
This Advent, I plan to do a short post, each day from tomorrow to the 23rd, highlighting the O Antiphon of the day, because I think it's one of the best ways of prayerfully preparing for Christmas.