Saturday, August 27, 2022

The ancient antiphones of the 7 days preceding Christmas

Dated to about 600 A.D. or so, these seven ancient antiphones are for the each day of the final week of Advent leading to Christmas. The first letter of the Latin of each phrase forms the acrostic, "Ero cras" meaning, "I will be tomorrow".


I – December 17

O SAPIENTIA, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti, attingens a fine usque ad finem fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia: veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.

O Wisdom, who come from the mouth of the Most High (Sirach 24:5),
you extend to the ends of the earth, and order all things with power and sweetness (Wisdom 8:1): come and teach us the way of wisdom (Proverbs 9:6).


II – December 18

O ADONAI, dux domus Israel, qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti, et in Sina legem dedisti: veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extenso.

O Lord (Exodus 6:2, Vulgate), leader of the house of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush (Exodus 3:2) and on Mount Sinai gave him the law (Exodus 20): come and free us with your powerful arm (Exodus 15:12-13).


III – December 19

O RADIX Iesse, qui stas in signum populorum, super quem continebunt reges os suum, quem gentes deprecabuntur: veni ad liberandum nos, iam noli tardare.

O Root of Jesse, who stand as a sign for the peoples (Isaiah 11:10), the kings of the earth are silent before you (Isaiah 52:15) and the nations invoke you: come to free us, do not delay (Habakkuk 2:3).


IV – December 20

O CLAVIS David et sceptrum domus Israel, qui aperis, et nemo claudit; claudis, et nemo aperit: veni et educ vinctum de domo carceris, sedentem in tenebris et umbra mortis.

O Key of David (Isaiah 22:23), scepter of the house of Israel (Genesis 49:10), who open and no one may shut; who shut and no one may open: come, free from prison captive man, who lies in darkness and the shadow of death (Psalm 107: 10, 14).


V – December 21

O ORIENS, splendor lucis aeternae et sol iustitiae: veni et illumina sedentem in tenebris et umbra mortis.

O Star who rises (Zechariah 3:8; Jeremiah 23:5), splendor of the eternal light (Wisdom 7:26) and sun of justice (Malachi 3:20): come and enlighten those who lie in darkness and the shadow of death (Isaiah 9:1; Luke 1:79).


VI – December 22

O REX gentium et desideratus earum, lapis angularis qui facis utraque unum: veni et salva hominem quel de limo formasti.

O King of the nations (Jeremiah 10:7) and their desire (Haggai 2:7),
cornerstone (Isaiah 28:16), who reunite Jews and pagans into one (Ephesians 2:14): come and save the man whom you formed from the earth (Genesis 2:7).


VII – December 23

O EMMANUEL, rex et legifer noster, expectatio gentium et salvator earum: veni ad salvandum nos, Dominus Deus noster.

O Emmanuel (Isaiah 7:14), our king and lawgiver (Isaiah 33:22), hope and salvation of the peoples (Genesis 49:10; John 4:42): come to save us, O Lord our God (Isaiah 37:20).

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