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O Antiphons


The O Antiphons refer to the seven antiphons that are recited (or chanted) preceding the Magnificat during Vespers of the Liturgy of the Hours.

The O’ Antiphons are chanted, recited, sung, or prayed during a special time on the Liturgical Calendar during Advent known as the Octave, recognized December 17-23. Some call them the Golden Hours.

Each prayer begins with a name or a title of God found in the Old Testament. While the specific origin is unknown, they started sometime in the 5th century and by the 8th century were included in liturgical celebrations.

The importance of these prayers highlights each of the titles of Jesus. It shows the fulfillment of the prophecy of the coming Messiah by Isaiah.

I have found praying the O’ Antiphons each night can intensify the anticipation for the long-awaited arrival of Baby Jesus, Our Lord, and Savior. What a beautiful and joyful conclusion to our patient waiting.

I love the story of the Benedictine Monks and the phrase they arranged from the O’ Antiphons. It is worth sharing.

It is said that Benedictine monks arranged these antiphons in a specific order and found a divine message-ero cras. If you look at each title of Christ: Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia – the Latin phrase is ero cras is formed, which translates to “Tomorrow, I will come.” 

There is a great longing for a Savior to Come. Jesus promises, “Tomorrow, I will come.”

Jesus is coming. We have been awaiting his arrival with anticipation and hope for our weary world, who then can rejoice.

I invite you to listen to the lyrics of the well-known and beautiful Christmas Carol, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” You will find the Messianic titles and O’ Antiphons woven in the lyrics. No wonder this is such a favorite. It reminds us of our savior and His promises with every word.

May you find great anticipation, peace, and joy as you include these O’ Antiphons in your prayers this last week of your Advent. 

The reflections below were written by Sophia, my daughter, and were included in our Advent Devotional we created last year. I continue to learn so much wisdom from her. Sophia Noelle will be celebrating her birthday soon. I find it beautiful (and partially not planned she arrived 2 weeks early) that her name Sophia means wisdom, and Noelle means to be born. I am grateful for this one to be born of wisdom as she always points others back to….

December 17: O Sapientia (O Wisdom) 

December 18: O Adonai (O Lord) 

December 19: O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse) 

December 20: O Clavis David (O Key of David) 

December 21: O Oriens (O Rising Sun) 

December 22: O Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations) 

December 23: O Emmanuel (God with us) 


December 17

O Wisdom of our God Most High, guiding creation with power and love: come to teach us the path of knowledge!

“And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: the spirit of wisdom, and of understanding, the spirit of counsel, and of fortitude, the spirit of knowledge, and of godliness. And he shall be filled with the spirit of the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge according to the sight of the eyes, nor reprove according to the hearing of the ears.” – Isaiah 11:2-3

Reflection:

God is the Most High Being. His hand guides all of creation, with His power, love, knowledge, wisdom, and mercy. He will be there all the days of our lives, and will walk with us until the end of time. To have wisdom means to have knowledge of what is true or right with just judgement. God’s wisdom will lead us to salvation because He is the way, the truth, and the life. His mercy endures forever. 

December 18

O Leader of the House of Israel, giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai: come to rescue us with your mighty power!

“But he shall judge the poor with justice, and shall reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: land he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. And justice shall be the girdle of his loins: and faith the girdle of his reins.” Isaiah 11:4-5

Reflection:

We ask to be set free so that we can know God. In a world full of distractions, it’s hard to take a moment to step back and reflect. We all need to be set free of distractions, gossip, envy, jealousy, lies, gluttony, and all the other things the devil tries to put in our heads. Our constant moving and going takes away time from getting acquainted with our loving Father.

The Ten Commandments were given to Moses on Mount Sinai. They are rules by which we live, just as the people of the Old Testament did. They are basic guidelines for living as a Christian and were made perfect when Jesus preached the Beatitudes during the Sermon on the Mount. Ask Jesus this day to guide you to living the Ten Commandments, and that you can be free of distractions to know him intimately.

December 19

O Root of Jesse’s stem, sign of God’s love for all his people: come to save us without delay!

“And there shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise up out of his root.” Isaiah 11:1.

Reflection:

The Root of Jesse is how we know God’s plan was so perfect. The Geneaology of Jesus can be traced all the way back to Adam in a perfectly straight line, including Jesse, David, and Solomon. While the ancestors of Christ were not necessarily “Christians”, God had a plan for each one of them so they could know Him. Little did they know that each time their family expanded, they would be opening their hearts and families to the Sacred Heart.

Christ is the definition of love. He came into this world as a newborn baby, in all his innocence. He perfected empathy when He chose to be raised up like humans and die like we do. Ask Jesus to surround you in His love today. Open your heart and your family to the call of Jesus, because He works miracles in your life. God loves you so much.

Call upon the Holy Spirit this day, and ask Him, “How can I open my heart to you today?”

December 20

O Key of David, opening the gates of God’s eternal Kingdom: come and free the prisoners of darkness!

“And I will lay the key of the house of David upon his shoulder: and he shall open, and none shall shut: and he shall shut, and none shall open.” Isaiah 22:22

Reflection:

Adam and Eve committed the Original Sin, creating a mark on the souls of all future descendants. Through the Sacrament of Baptism, we break free of the prison of Original Sin. However, we are still tempted each day by the devil, and we must call upon God to help us in this journey of life.

The devil is afraid of the name of Jesus. He runs in fear because of our Mighty Lord.

Through the ultimate sacrifice on the Cross, Christ saved us from sin and death. As humans, death is inevitable, but Christ made sure we don’t have to spend eternity separated from God, unless we choose that path. “You didn’t want heaven without us. So Jesus, You brought heaven down. My sin was great, Your love was greater. What could separate us now?”

So call upon God this day in prayer. Ask Him to help guide you towards Heaven and save you from the temptation of sin. Call out Jesus’s name.

December 21

O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death.

“The people that walked in darkness, have seen a great light: to them that dwelt in the region of the shadow of death, light is risen.” Isaiah 9:2

Reflection:

People who walk in darkness have seen a great light. Those in the shadow of death and sin can repent. This Advent season, take the time to prepare your hearts to allow Jesus to dwell within you.

Stay awake, be ready! You don’t know the hour when the Lord is coming. Stay Awake! Be ready! The Lord is coming soon. Alleluia!

Pray to the Radiant dawn and ask Him to shine upon you who dwell in darkness.

December 22

O King of all nations and keystone of the Church: come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!

“For a CHILD IS BORN to us, and a son is given to us, and the government is upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counsellor, God the Mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of Peace. His empire shall be multiplied, and there shall be no end of peace: he shall sit upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom; to establish it and strengthen it with judgment and with justice, from henceforth and for ever: the zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” Isaiah 9:6-7

Reflection:

Psalms 139:14 says we are “Fearfully and wonderfully made.” All the children of God are made in His image and likeness. We say that because God formed Adam from dust and breathed life into him.

God says “Before you formed in the womb, I knew you. God breathed life into each of us before our mothers even knew us. God has a special plan for each one of us.

Call upon God today to ask Him how you can carry out the plan He has for you. Ask Him to help you see yourself as He sees you – beautiful in every way.

December 23

O Emmanuel, our King and Giver of Law: come to save us, Lord our God!

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign; the young woman, pregnant and about to bear a son, shall name him Emmanuel.” Isaiah 7:14

Reflection:

Jesus will always love us, even if we turn away from Him. He is standing beside you waiting to show you mercy. Jesus is always depicted with arms wide open, ready for you to come running back.

Even when it feels like you can’t feel Jesus or see His footprints beside you, He is surrounding you in love and carrying you. He wants to hear all about your sorrows and pain, and He will never let you down.

To know Jesus is to have faith in Him and pray to Him often. His voice is not always clear as day, but the voice of Jesus is never filled with doubt or worry. He knows what is best for you and you need to trust Him every step of the way.

Ask Jesus to help you know He is there with you. Ask Him to guide you every step of the way. Pray to Him often; He is your best friend!


About the Author:

Sophia Lebano is a 20 year old blogger, podcaster, entrepreneur, and Theology student.

She had progressive hearing loss from 8 years old until 17, when she went completely deaf after bilateral cochlear implant surgeries.

In August 2019, Sophia began her blog and podcast to document her journey of hearing loss and college as a young Catholic woman.

In addition, Sophia works with brands to promote their products through her blog, podcast, and Instagram.

Sophia also runs her company, Sophia Lebano Creative, a brand, website design, and social media management agency.

You can find her links here:

Sophialebano.com (blog)

Hearandnowpodcast.com (podcast)

Sophialebanocreative.com (brand agency)

Instagram.com/sophialebano (instagram)

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