Tag Archives: O Antiphons

O Antiphon: O Emmanuel

Mystical Nativity SBotticelli.jpgO Emmanuel, Rex et legifer noster, exspectatio
Gentium, et Salvator earum: veni ad salvandum nos, Domine, Deus noster.


O
Emmanuel, God with us, our King and Lawgiver, the expected of the nations and
their Savior: Come to save us, O Lord our God (Is 7:14; 33:22).

All is fulfilled now in Jesus. In the previous days you would have noticed the Messiah as he was expected in the Scriptures. Today, we address Jesus with the title given by God, Emmanuel –“God with us.”

The promise of God the Father pitching His among us is known so clearly in the Incarnation of the Word. This antiphon is the climax of all expectations for a Savior who ushers in a new time in history where everything, everything is reversed (see the Prophet Isaiah). “The very term Emmanuel, God with us, reveals the kindly, human heart of Jesus –He wants to be one of us, a Child of man, with all our human weakness and suffering; He wants to experience how hard it is to be man. He wants to remain with us to the end, He wants to dwell within us, He wants to make us share His nature” (Pius Parsch). Come, Lord, Jesus.

O Antiphon: O King

King David Fra Angelico.jpgO Rex Gentium, et desideratus earum, lapisque
angularis, qui facis utraque unum: veni, et salva hominem, quem de limo
formasti.


O King of the Gentiles and their desired One, the Cornerstone that
makes both one: Come, and deliver man, whom You formed out of the dust of the
earth (Is 9:7; 2;4; Ps 2:7-8, Eph 2:14-20).

Considering Pius Parsch’s reflections, “The antiphon should provoke enthusiasm for the conversion of pagans. Try to realize how ardently Christ desires that we carry the gospel to non-Catholics [and today even to Catholics poorly catechized]; to all of us, directly or indirectly, His apostolic commission is addressed. Each one of us can at least pray for the conversion of those still ignorant of Christ.”

In Jesus, the unity of believers, Jew and Gentile, is known. He’s spoken of as the cornerstone: the peacemaker where as Saint Paul said “There is neither Jew nor Greek; neither slave nor free person, there is neither male nor female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:29).

O Antiphon: O Dawn of the East (Dayspring)

Christ in the Carpenter GLaTour.jpgO Oriens, splendor lucis aeternae, et sol justitiae: veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris, et umbra mortis.


O Dawn of the East, brightness of the light eternal, and Sun of Justice: Come, and enlighten them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. Psalm 19:6-7.  (Ps 19:6-7; Is 9:2).

Lost on us today by-and-large is the cosmological connections with Jesus as not only Son of God but also the Sun of Justice. Often I say that salvation comes from the East, the where we see the Rising Sun. This is not unique to me: the our parents in the Faith in Jesus knew this intimately because of their connection with the land, and the heavens. No doubt that today the Church gives us this antiphon on the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. Astronomically we, as Catholics, are aware that God works in and through creation. Architecturely, Christians in Rome built churches that accounted for the sun with not only its usefulness in growing vegetables but energy and light, taking up the ancient liturgical (theological) metaphor noted in today’s antiphon: Christ is the Dayspring, the Dawn of the East. Christ is Light from Light, as stated in the Creed. Those who pray the Divine Office will recall that in the Canticle of Zachary –the Benedictus– pray the words of St Luke: “the Dawn from on high”; He will give light to those who live in darkness, those who dwell in the shadow of death.

It is only Jesus who dispels the darkness of the world (temporally) and mystically (spiritually). And that’s why we face East in the sacred Liturgy, and that is why the priest ought to face East when praying the Mass. 

O Antiphon: O Key of David

Nativity detail GDavid.jpgO 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.


O Key of David and Sceptre of
the House of Israel, who opens and no one can shut, who shuts and no one can open
(Is 22:22; Rev 3:7): Come and bring the prisoners forth from the prison cell, those
who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death (Is 42:7; Ps 106:13-14; Lk 1:9)

For Jews reading (hearing) this will notice that Jesus makes the claim that he is God, precisely for us, the Son of God, the Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity. The image of the “Key of David” is a clear indication of God and His holy name. As Pius Parsch reminds us, “It should, then, be perfectly obvious that Christ is the “Key of David,” i.e., the One who opens all the secrets and mysteries of the Old Testament. The sceptre implies a true fullness of power over God’s kingdom.”

O Antiphon: O Root of Jesse

Master of ames IV of Scotland MS Ludwig IX.jpgO Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum, super
quem continebunt reges os suum, quem Gentes deprecabuntur: veni ad liberandum
nos, jam noli tardare.


O Root of Jesse (Ac 13:22-23), standing as a sign to the
peoples (Is 11:10), before whom kings shall shut their mouths (Is 52:15), and
whom the nations shall seek (1 Kings 10:24; 2 Chr 9:23): Come and deliver us and do
not delay (Hab 2:3; Rev 22:20)!

The prophet saw the rebuilding of a destroyed Israel and foretold a Messiah, a twig of hope from the line of David. As Pius Parsch said, “The bulk of the anitphon is devoted to a description of the kingdom. The small twig becomes the unifying principle about which the nations will gather like soldiers and citizens about their flag. With yearning the peoples will assemble around Him, will turn and acknowledge Him as Ruler. The Messiah’s glory will be so great that even kings will stand dumstruck in wonder and awe.”

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.
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