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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The 'O Antiphons' Begin: O Wisdom

I took this picture at 6:30 this morning on my way to church.

The Jaime Tree has had her first snow, which ruffled her twinkling red lights just a tad. I don't think she minded. It makes her look as if she's smiling, doesn't it?

Today we begin the 'O Antiphons'. Here's what the Benedictine Sisters of Erie (PA) say about them:

The "O Antiphons," one of the oldest liturgical rituals in the church, are prayed around the world during the final days of Advent. For the seven days before Christmas, we recall in these prayers a quality of Christ that must be realized before the presence of Christ can consume the world.

I look forward every year to praying and meditating and chanting them with the Sisters - home of one of my s/heroes, Sr. Joan Chittister.

It has become part of my Advent spiritual life. I could no sooner go through Advent without them than I could go through Christmas without singing 'Silent Night.'

I never tire of them, and I feel that my soul is strengthened by being in the company of these amazing women as we take our final steps in our journey to the manger.

Here is a meditation from Sr. Joan.

O Wisdom

December 17

Wisdom: the ability to see the
world as God sees it. Try reading
the newspaper today through the
eyes of a God who was born in a
stable, counted to be of no
account, hounded by society from
one place to another.

— Joan D. Chittister, OSB

A prayer to Holy Wisdom:

O Wisdom, flowing from the mouth
of the Most High; reaching far and
wide, disposing of all things sweetly
and mightily. Come teach us the way
of prudence.

And, a link to chant this prayer with them here


Muthah+ said...

I can't live without the O Antiphones in Advent either. We use them (two at a time) instead of the Gloria during Advent. It is just a bit of a change that I have done here in Lutherlandia. They don't seem to mind.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Ah, what a lovely idea. I hadn't thought of that. What musical setting do you use? Or, do you simply use "O Come O Come Emmanuel"?

During Advent, we begin the service with the processional hymn then I call for everyone to kneel or sit in a full minute of contemplative silence. Then, the choir sings one of the verses of "Emmanuel". When we all sing the Refrain, the Acolyte gets up and begins to light the Advent Wreath (no blessing, no prayers, just music). By the time the Acolyte is finished, we have sung another verse.

Then, we have the usual opening sentences - but NOT the penitential ones. I don't believe in Advent being a "mini Lent". We use Blue, thank you, not Purple.

We divide the 8 verses of "Emmanuel", two each week, during the four weeks of Advent.

Works pretty well.