Tag Archives: Advent

Our Lady of the Expectation, Lady of ‘O’

Today is the feast of Our Lady of the Expectation. This Marian feast is sadly no longer on the universal liturgical calendar but it is retained in some places like Spain, Portugal, Italy and Poland plus with a few religious orders. Yet, “Our Lady of Expectation” educates all of us, especially the Christian family.

With Our Lady of the Expectation we have a view at Divine Motherhood which takes the opportunity to contemplate the great longing and anticipation of Advent, in which “all creation is groaning in labor pains” oriented toward the promise of the Messiah. Divine Motherhood puts our attention to the meaning of new life brought about by mothers who ought to find in Mary the great model: “Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb” (Luke 1:42).

The Church prays, “O God who wished that your Word would take the flesh from the womb of the Virgin as announced by the Angel and whom we confess to be the true Mother of God, may we be helped by her intercession.”

In Spain, the place where this feast day originated, (cf. the Tenth Council of Toledo, AD 656), this feast day is Nuestra Senora de la O: Our Lady of the O, the “O” coming from the expression of longing said in the office of the Mozarabic Liturgy. In the Latin Rite, today’s feast comes in the middle of the “O” Antiphons (where we get the words for the hymn Veni, Veni, Emmanuel — in English O Come, O Come Emmanuel).

Advent is to proclaim salvation

Tonight, the Latin Church begins her preparation for the Nativity of the Lord. Pope Benedict said at one of his addresses at the Sunday Angelus:

… we have been experiencing the liturgical season of Advent: a time of openness to God’s future, a time of preparation for Christmas, when he, the Lord, who is the absolute novelty, came to dwell in the midst of this fallen humanity to renew it from within. In the Advent liturgy there resounds a message full of hope, which invites us to lift up our gaze to the ultimate horizon, but at the same time to recognize the signs of God-with-us in the present. The Lord wants to do in Advent: to speak to the heart of his people and, through them, to the whole of humanity, to proclaim salvation.

 

As a Benedictine Oblate, I have to myself:

How has my Oblation lifted my gaze to my ultimate horizon? That is, in what ways does my Oblate life lead me closer to my destiny with God? In what ways does my Oblate life open my heart to hear the Lord speaking to me and open my hands in putting my faith into action?

The O Antiphons have meaning

Today, the monasteries around the world make their solemn entrance into the last week of preparation before Christmas. . .the first of the great O Antiphons begins to be sung at the time of the Magnificat. These beautiful antiphons, pregnant with meaning, are true bearers of Advent hope and joy.

In them, according to a French liturgist, the liturgy of Advent finds its fullness and plenitude. The O Antiphons are extremely significant to both the Advent and the monastic liturgy. The rich spiritual content of the antiphons is invaluable, starting with the one we solemnly sing today which opens : O Wisdom, O holy word of God’s mouth. . .

Br. Victor-Antoine D’Avila  Latourrette, OSB
A Monastery Journey to Christmas

O Antiphons

o-wisdomThe days before Christmas are typically marked by naming the titles that Jesus bears. The music for the antiphons is terrific. Each of the seven “O Antiphons” (also called the “Greater Antiphons” or “Major Antiphons”) come from the Magnificat antiphon for Vespers during the Octave before Christmas Eve, a time which is called the “Golden Nights.”

Each Antiphon begins with “O” and addresses Jesus with a unique title which comes from the prophecies of Isaiah and Micah, and whose initials, when read backwards, form an acrostic for the Latin “Ero Cras” which means “Tomorrow I come.” Those titles for Christ are:

Starting tonight, we begin with Sapientia; tomorrow and the days ahead we move on to: Adonai, Radix Jesse, Clavis David, Oriens, Rex Gentium, Emmanuel

The O Antiphons in both English and Latin:

December 17

Wisdom that comest out of the mouth of the Most High, that reachest from one end to another, and orderest all things mightily and sweetly, come to teach us the way of prudence!

Latin
O Sapientia, quæ ex ore Altissimi prodiisti, attingens a fine usque ad finem, fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia: veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiæ.

December 18

Adonai, and Ruler of the house of Israel, Who didst appear unto Moses in the burning bush, and gavest him the law in Sinai, come to redeem us with an outstretched arm!

Latin
O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel, qui Moysi in igne flammæ rubi apparuisti, et ei in Sina legem dedisti: veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.

December 19

Root of Jesse, which standest for an ensign of the people, at Whom the kings shall shut their mouths, Whom the Gentiles shall seek, come to deliver us, do not tarry.

Latin
O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum, super quem continebunt reges os suum, quem Gentes deprecabuntur: veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli tardare.

December 20

Key of David, and Sceptre of the house of Israel, that openeth and no man shutteth, and shutteth and no man openeth, come to liberate the prisoner from the prison, and them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death.

Latin
O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel; qui aperis, et nemo claudit; claudis, et nemo aperit: veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris, sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

December 21

Dayspring, Brightness of the everlasting light, Sun of justice, come to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death!

Latin
O Oriens, splendor lucis æternæ, et sol justitiæ: veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

December 22

King of the Gentiles, yea, and desire thereof! O Corner-stone, that makest of two one, come to save man, whom Thou hast made out of the dust of the earth!

Latin
O Rex Gentium, et desideratus earum, lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum: veni, et salva hominem, quem de limo formasti.

December 23

Emmanuel, our King and our Law-giver, Longing of the Gentiles, yea, and salvation thereof, come to save us, O Lord our God!

Latin
O Emmanuel, Rex et legifer noster, exspectatio gentium, et Salvator earum: veni ad salvandum nos Domine Deus noster.

Advent waiting is twofold

We wait and wait for the Lord. We become very conscious of the waiting. It is an eager waiting, full of anticipation and wonder, for as with the prophets of old, our companions on the road, we long to see his face.

The Lord, of course, is very much aware of this patient waiting, of this deep yearning for him, and he is ever ready to come into our lives and fulfill our deepest desires. Advent waiting is always twofold. On our part, we await prayerfully, consciously, and anticipate his coming. On God’s part, he is eager to arrive and find a warm dwelling place in our hearts. The greater our desire and patience in waiting for him, the fuller we shall be filled with his presence.

If we learn to cultivate this inner attitude of waiting for him steadily, faithfully, not only during the Blessed Advent days, but throughout the whole of our lives, we shall likewise be rewarded with the grace, joy, and warmth of his real presence in the innermost of our hearts.

Monastery Journey to Christmas
Br. Victor-Antoine D’Avila-Latourrette OSB

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
coat of arms

Categories

Archives

Humanities Blog Directory