Wednesday, December 17, 2008


This morning we start Act II of advent. A play in two acts the second half always begins in the 17th of December. Up and until this point we have been preparing for the coming of Christ at the end of time. Then on the 17th, things change, almost imperceptibly.

This is the day we begin preparing for the immanent coming of Christ at Christmas. We start preparing for the big birthday bash. The preface at the Mass changes, the genealogy of Christ from Matthew is read (unless it occurs on a Sunday,) and those who pray the Liturgy of the Hours start saying the O Antiphons with the Canticle of Mary.

You know the O Antiphons however even if you do not pray the Breviary. The O Antiphons are the Old Testament names for the coming Messiah.

O Sapientia – Wisdom
O Adonai – Lord of Might
O Radix Jesse – Flower of Jesse’s Stem
O Clavis Davidica – Key of David
O Oriens – O Rising Dawn
O Rex Gentium – King of Nations
O Emmanuel – God-with-Us

Hence the song, “O come, O come Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel. Happy part II of Advent!


MJ said...

Thanks for the explanation. I was wondering why we went ahead to Dec. 17 in morning prayer, instead of Weds. in 3rd week of Advent. Thought it might have to do with an octave.

Odysseus said...

FAther V,

Any idea on WHY we do this (alter the prayer schedule on Dec 17)? What I mean is, why this day and not another? Is it an octave, as MJ thought?

Fr. V said...

Interestingly I can only fine the "THAT" not the "WHY".


Anybody know?

Joyful Catholic said...

O,... I get it.