The Great Antiphons – Seven Last Days of Advent
Christmas is approaching! Anyone foolhardy enough to attempt to steam their way through Chermside or Stafford City in the last week or so would know this. In the hurry and panic of purchasing gifts, in the anxiety and apprehension that can be attached to preparing Christmas celebrations for relatives and friends, in the mere longing for the festivities to come to rest, for the tinsel to be packed away in the shed and for the decorations and tree to be stacked away somewhere you will (hopefully) remember for next year. At Bondi Junction yesterday, I was in Westfield (what was I thinking?!!) and walked past Santa’s dais – it was vacant as Santa was off on his union-sanctioned lunch break – a neat, little sign was placed on his chair and in nice, snowcapped, letters it read “Please don’t climb up on the throne.” This reminded me of the Great Antiphons as marking our last week before that day when a King is born in Bethlehem to rule in our hearts. And we are certainly permitted to ascend the throne to be with Christ but not to ask for a new iPad or a pair of Nike TNs – we are invited to share a vision of the world with Christ, one where love reigns and where to rule is to serve.
So, The Hill will feature one of these Antiphons for each day before Christmas. They are ancient and usually preceed the Magnificat at evening prayer. They are O Sapientia (O Wisdom), O Adonai (O Adonai), 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), O Emmanuel (O God-with-us). It forms the acrostic “Ero Cras” – Tomorrow, I will be there. A reflection will accompany each day as well as a Franciscan reading and prayer.
Hope you can join us in this last stage of our Christmas journey.
Father, creator and redeemer of us all, you decreed and your Word became man, born of the Virgin Mary. May we come to share the divinity of Christ, who humbled himself to share our human nature, for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, on God forever and ever.