Thursday, December 18, 2014

Advent Meditation from Rome

Manger scene outside the seminary chapel at the Pontifical North American College.
Photo courtesy D. Rankin, seminarian for the Diocese of Springfield, IL 
Courtesy of Fr. Brian Baker, good friend and fellow Atlanta priest studying in Rome, a reflection on this last week leading up to Christmas, from Fr. Kurt Besole OSB, director of Liturgical Formation at the Pontifical North American College.

We're in the final stretch before the Christmas season! Here's a reflection to help guide your prayerful preparation these final days:

On December 17th, the Church’s Advent liturgy begins to focus in a particular way on the Nativity of the Lord. The prayers, readings, and preface at Mass as well as the readings, antiphons for the Gospel canticles, intercessions, and prayers at the Liturgy of the Hours concentrate more resolutely than during the preceding days of Advent on the coming feast of the Nativity of the Lord.

The great “O Antiphons” have a particular role in these days as they have been used for centuries as the antiphons for the Magnificat [prayed at Vespers]. Each antiphon, always sung in a very similar melody, begins with a title of Christ, usually taken from the Old Testament, and followed by the petition that he come to us (veni) and act on our behalf:

December 17: O Sapientia (O Wisdom)
December 18: O Adonai (O Lord)
December 19: O Radix Iesse (O Root of Jesse)
December 20: O Clavis David (O Key of David)
December 21: O Oriens (O Daystar) [after this date, the days begin to get longer]
December 22: O Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations)
December 23: O Emmanuel (O God-with-Us)

When taken together from the last title to the first, the first letters of each title form the wonderful Latin acrostic:



They form the Lord’s response to the Church’s ardent petition that he come (veni):

ERO CRAS (I will be there tomorrow)! 

[Fr. G adds: The verses of the famous Advent Hymn, "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel!" are based on the "O" Antiphons of the liturgy.]

"O Adonai" The O Antiphon for December 17 

(A hauntingly beautiful polyphonic arrangement of the traditional Advent hymn)


Fr. Brian Baker said...

Just to be sure to give proper credit: the actual reflection is written by Fr. Kurt Belsole, OSB, Director of Liturgical Formation at PNAC. The photo was taken by Dominic Rankin, Seminarian for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. I just put them together for my FB friends, but glad it was picked up by Fr. G's blog!

Fr. Gaurav Shroff said...

Grazie, fratello!