O Antiphons

A few years ago I came across the O Antiphons. While I’d heard of them before, I confess I had never paid much attention, so for several weeks I did a deep-dive research on their history, their meaning, and the way Christians have incorporated them into their spiritual practices over the centuries. Most of you are familiar with the O Antiphons even if you’re not: we sing them in the the hymn O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. The O Antiphons are sung in Vespers during the last seven days of Advent and were first referenced in the 6th century. Together, they trace the history of God’s covenant with Israel from Creation to the Incarnation. Each one references an attribute of Christ, as prophesied in Isaiah.

My research compelled me to write an evening liturgy incorporating the O Antiphons for individuals and families to use during the last week of Advent. I have tweaked it over the years and am so happy to be able to share it with you. You may download the liturgy below which will answer some questions (Vespers – huh? Antiphons – what?), and also includes reflections I wrote about each antiphon and how they fit in both the story of Israel and the Church.

The liturgy is to be used December 17th (tomorrow) through December 23rd. Please feel free to forward this to family and friends who might be interested in using it.

I pray that the liturgy and reflections will be a blessing to you as you walk into the last week of Advent awaiting the coming of Emmanuel, God with us. 

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