LEARN TO LIVE, LIVE TO LEARN
“To know much and taste nothing-of what use is that?” ―St. Bonaventure of Bagnoregio
"O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" is a much-loved Advent hymn. This is probably one of the most familiar hymns we sing at Mass during the whole Season of Advent. But did you know that this hymn is really ought to be saved for the last eight days of Advent?
The final eight days of Advent, are highlighted by what we call the Great ‘O’ Antiphons. These “O” statements date back to at least the 8th Century. Each antiphon which 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.
Today, in addition to appearing at Evening Prayer, they are also found in the daily liturgy. They take turns, one a day, serving as the verse to the Gospel Acclamation: “O Wisdom,” “O Lord and Ruler,” “O Root of Jesse,” “O Key of David,” “O Radiant Dawn,” “O King of All Nations,” and the most expected and greatest of them all, “O God-with-us.”
Rich in symbolism and meaning they take us right from the beginning of creation, before the creation of the universe, through the messianic prophecies of Israel, and culminating with the Incarnation and birth of Christ in Bethlehem.
December 17: O Sapientia (O Wisdom)
Jeff Jacinto, PhD, DHum