Artwork by the Benedictine Sisters of Turvey Abbey
17th December: 'O Wisdom, who came forth from the mouth of the Most
High, reaching from one end of creation to the other, strongly and gently
ordering all things, come to teach us the way of prudence.'
O Sapienta, quae ex ore Altissimi prodisti,
attingens a fine usque ad finem,
fortiter suaviyer disponensque omnia:
veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiaer.
The above text is taken from the Wisdom of Solomon 7:22-30; 8:1, and
St Paul develops the theme in Ephesians 1:3 and Colossians 1:15-20.
The wisdom of God is Christ, who existed before all creation, through whom and
for whom all things came into being and by whom all things are held together.
The banner shows the eternal Christ whose throne is the universe, the earth his
footstool, the Pantocrator of ancient and medieval paintings.
He is the Wisdom and Power of God (1 Corinthians 1:30).
The O Antiphons are a highlight of the Church's Advent Liturgy: from December
17th - 23rd they frame the Magnificat at Vespers.
Rich in symbolism and meaning they take us right from the beginning of
creation, through the centuries of the world's waiting for the promised
Messiah, calling upon him who was hidden in signs and symbols, and revealed
when the fullness of time had come, leading us to the Mystery of the
Incarnation and beyond, to the Paschal Mystery, the coming of the Holy Spirit
and the Parousia (Christ's second coming).
The exact origin of the Latin texts is unknown. They may date from the
sixth century. There is evidence to suggest that the texts were in liturgical
use in Rome in the eighth century. Both the original Latin texts and an English
translation are given here.
Arriving at the 7th Antiphon on December 23rd, we may discover that the
letters of the Latin invocations, read from the last up to the first, form a
wonderful acrostic (ERO CRAS), like God's answer to our prayer :
Dec. 17: Sapienta (O Wisdom)
Dec. 18: Adonai (O Adonai [Lord])
Dec. 19: Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse)
Dec. 20: Clavis David (O Key of David)
Dec. 21: Oriens (O Rising Sun)
Dec. 22: Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations)
Dec. 23: Emmanuel (O Emmanuel)
ERO CRAS: I WILL
BE HERE TOMORROW
Christmas: O Wonderful Exchange (Antiphon from the Greek Liturgy
"O Wonderful Exchange! The Creator of the human race took to himself a
human body and was born of a virgin, and becoming man he granted us
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