Sunday, December 19, 2010
In this last week before Christmas, we are praying the O Antiphons, one each evening. I only learned a couple years ago what antiphons are when I came across something online. An antiphon is simply a verse that is chanted or sung. Here is an excerpt on the O Antiphons from the Catholic Education Resource Center:
"The “O Antiphons” refer to the seven antiphons that are recited (or chanted) preceding the Magnificat during Vespers of the Liturgy of the Hours. They cover the special period of Advent preparation known as the Octave before Christmas, Dec. 17-23, with Dec. 24 being Christmas Eve and Vespers for that evening being for the Christmas Vigil."
Each of the O Antiphons comes from a Biblical title for Christ:
"The importance of “O Antiphons” is twofold: Each one highlights a title for the Messiah: O Sapientia (O Wisdom), O Adonai (O Lord), O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse), O Clavis David (O Key of David), O Oriens (O Rising Sun), O Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations), and O Emmanuel. Also, each one refers to the prophecy of Isaiah of the coming of the Messiah."
And this interesting bit of trivia regarding these antiphons:
"According to Professor Robert Greenberg of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the Benedictine monks arranged these antiphons with a definite purpose. If one starts with the last title and takes the first letter of each one - Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai,Sapientia - the Latin words ero cras are formed, meaning, “Tomorrow, I will come.” Therefore, the Lord Jesus, whose coming we have prepared for in Advent and whom we have addressed in these seven Messianic titles, now speaks to us, “Tomorrow, I will come.” So the “O Antiphons” not only bring intensity to our Advent preparation, but bring it to a joyful conclusion."
Pretty interesting, I think! I would love for our family to learn more about the Liturgy of the Hours... with a seminarian for a little brother, I am sure I have a resource for that! ;)
We are praying the antiphons in the evenings by listening to the audio found here, and then we are reading them in English as well. Father Z also has them on his site, here. This year, inspired by some of the other Catholic blogs I have read, I am trying to incorporate one small activity or item in each day that corresponds with the antiphon of the day. Here's what we have done so far:
~O Sapientia (O Wisdom), December 17~
The girls got a new reference book which will impart wisdom in the faith: A Catholic Child's Picture Dictionary. I bought this awhile back with a bunch of other homeschooling supplies and have been holding onto it...
~O Adonai (O Lord and Ruler), December 18~
This antiphon continues with, "who appeared to Moses in the flame of the burning bush and gave him the law on Sinai..." So, we used the imagery of the flaming hot burning bush and had something spicy for dinner:
Cecilia approves! Well, until it got a little to spicy (you know how your lips start to burn after eating slightly spicy food and salty tortilla chips awhile?)... I made these with Mexican cheese dip, which has some jalepenos in it. They also had diced tomato, olives, and shredded chicken on them - yummy!
~O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse), December 19~
We had some root vegetables today! Lunch was build-your-own baked potatoes, which turned out to be a great idea for a Sunday lunch which I heard from a friend: bake them while you are at Mass, set the oven to turn off after an hour and a half, and then they stay nice and hot in the oven until you're ready to eat! We got home and prepared bacon, sauteed mushrooms, sliced olives, shredded cheddar cheese, steamed broccoli, and sour cream as toppings! Then with our dinner, we had another root vegetable: steamed carrots.
I will try to post each activity that reinforces the O Antiphon of the day!