Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia.
God-with-us, King, Dawn, Key, Root, Lord, Wisdom.
These are the O Antiphons. Continuing our theme of asking who we are waiting for, each of these titles refers to Isaiah’s prophecies of the one to come. You’ll note the bolded letters above in the Latin titles, which spell out “ero cras,” which means, “Tomorrow, I will come.”
Soon, the newborn king will arrive. Already crowned, yet immediately humble.
Let us pray the O Antiphons together, as found in the Church of England’s Common Worship. They may sound somewhat familiar – the song, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” was written partly from the words of the O Antiphons.
O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from one end to the other mightily, and sweetly ordering all things: Come and teach us the way of prudence. [cf Ecclesiasticus 24.3; Wisdom 8]
O Adonai, and leader of the House of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the ﬁre of the burning bush and gave him the law on Sinai: Come and redeem us with an outstretched arm. [cf Exodus 3.2; 24.1]
O Root of Jesse, standing as a sign among the peoples; before you kings will shut their mouths, to you the nations will make their prayer: Come and deliver us, and delay no longer. [cf Isaiah 11.10; 45.14; 52.15; Romans 15.12]
O Key of David and sceptre of the House of Israel; you open and no one can shut; you shut and no one can open: Come and lead the prisoners from the prison house, those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death. [cf Isaiah 22.22; 42.7]
O Morning Star, splendour of light eternal and sun of righteousness: Come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death. [cf Malachi 4.2]
O King of the nations, and their desire, the cornerstone making both one: Come and save the human race, which you fashioned from clay. [cf Isaiah 28.16; Ephesians 2.14]
O Emmanuel, our King and our lawgiver, the hope of the nations and their Saviour: Come and save us, O Lord our God. [cf Isaiah 7.14]
*If you’re interested in other things related to the O Antiphons, check out Marty Haugen’s song titled, “My Soul in Stillness Waits,” or make a craft like this with your kids.