Today begins the seven days of O Antiphons with O Sapientia. The O Antiphons, also known as The Great Os are Magnificat antiphons used at Vespers of the last seven days of Advent in Western Christian traditions. They are also used as the Alleluia verses on the same days in the post-1970 form of the Catholic Mass. I am going to mark this week with relevant posts. Recipes will be a severe challenge.
They are referred to as the “O Antiphons” because the title of each one begins with the vocative particle “O”. Each antiphon is a name of Christ, one of his attributes mentioned in Scripture. They are:
17 December: O Sapientia (O Wisdom)
18 December: O Adonai (O Lord)
19 December: O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse)
20 December: O Clavis David (O Key of David)
21 December: O Oriens (O Dayspring)
22 December: O Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations)
23 December: O Emmanuel (O With Us is God)
In the Latin Catholic rite, the O Antiphons are sung or recited at Vespers from 17th December to 23rd December inclusive. Some Anglican churches (e.g. the Church of England) also use them, either in the same way as modern Roman Catholics, or according to a medieval English usage. Use of the O Antiphons also occurs in many Lutheran churches. In the Book of Common Worship published by the Presbyterian Church (USA), the antiphons can be read as a praise litany at Morning or Evening Prayer. The hymn Veni Emmanuel is a lyrical paraphrase of these antiphons.
Here is the text of O Sapienta followed by a simple rendition (there are fancier settings):
LATIN: O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodidisti, attingens a fine usque ad finem, fortiter suaviter disponensque omnia: veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.
ENGLISH: O Wisdom, who came from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from end to end and ordering all things mightily and sweetly: come, and teach us the way of prudence.
Easter has Holy Week as the last period in Lent before the BIG EVENT, but Christmas is lacking in such a dramatic week prior. For me the O Antiphons fill the gap. Like Holy Week, each day of the O Antiphons asks us to focus on a particular attribute of Jesus — rather like the Advent Wreath having us focus on Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace in order, week by week. I wouldn’t say I am the most disciplined person in the world — not the most undisciplined, either, but edging towards the bottom of the pile. Nonetheless, I do like lists, and having a focus for meditation each day for a week seems like a solid idea.
Wisdom is a difficult one to begin the week. The world today seems sorely lacking in wisdom. But Gandhi provides a clue (so does Francis of Assisi). He suggested that if you feel that there is not enough love in the world, then be more loving. The love you put into the world, the more love there is. That’s perhaps easier to achieve than increasing the wisdom in the world by being wiser. Gaining wisdom requires not only the will to do so, but also the right mental abilities and a lot of patience and hard work. Nonetheless, we can still spend the day contemplating wisdom (maybe in others). Who is the wisest person you know?
For today’s recipe I give you today’s video from my YouTube channel, Juan’s Whirled. All my output these days centers on the celebration of Christmas in ways that help rather than exhaust.