The Pope’s Exhortation and the “O” Antiphons: Final Advent Reflections

ExhortationWe haven’t looked at the Pope’s Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium since December 4 and here we are in the final week before Christmas.  I thought this might be a good time, as we have entered into the period of the “O” Antiphons, to reflect on aspects of the Exhortation through the lens of those Antiphons.  Since they started yesterday (December 17), I’m already a day behind!  I’ll try to catch up with two reflections today.

But first, a bit about the “O” Antiphons.  They are the seven daily refrains used with the recitation of the Magnificat at Vespers (Evening Prayer) from December 17-23.  They are very ancient and go back to the earliest years of the Church.

They are called the “O Antiphons” because each begins with the the interjection “O”. Each antiphon is a name of the Messiah (Christ) and they are drawn from the prophecies of Isaiah:o_antiphons_all

  • December 17: O Sapientia (O Wisdom)
  • December 18: O Adonai (O God of Power)
  • December 19: O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse)
  • December 20: O Clavis David (O Key of David)
  • December 21: O Oriens (O Dayspring)
  • December 22: O Rex Gentium (O King of the nations)
  • December 23: O Emmanuel (O God With Us)

If these titles look familiar, you may recognize them as the various stanzas of “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”, which is based on them. In subsequent posts, I’ll reflect on Evangelii Gaudium in light of each antiphon.

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