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Thursday, December 17, 2009

O Antiphons - Sapientia

Today we begin the last 7 days towards the push before the eve of Christmas and the eventual joyful celebration of the birth of Christ. It is a good opportunity then to consider the "O Antiphons" to help us take us there in good stead as we reflect the intentions that can arise from them.

These are the seven antiphons to the Magnificat in the ferial Office of the seven days preceeding the vigil of Christmas; so called because all begin with the interjection "O". Their opening words are: (1) "O Sapientia", (2) "O Adonai", (3) "O Radix Jesse", (4) "O Clavis David", (5) "O Oriens", (6) "O Rex Gentium", (7) "O Emmanuel". Addressed to Christ under one or other of His Scriptural titles, they conclude with a distinct petition to the coming Lord (e.g.: "O Wisdom … come and teach us the way of prudence"; "O Adonai … come and redeem us by thy outstretched arm"; "O Key of David … come and lead from prison the captive sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death" etc.)
As we see from this excerpt from the Catholic Encyclopedia from New Advent, the first one we will begin to look at is "O Sapientia", sapientia meaning wisdom. The antiphon goes, "O Wisdom, you come forth from the mouth of the Most High. You fill the universe and hold all things together in a strong yet gentle manner. O come to teach us the way of truth."

In our world today we are keenly aware how much we need wisdom. We make immediate choices about families and jobs, and we also face life-shaping decisions about where to work and live, even wrestle with crucial end-of-life dilemmas. We agonize over how to take appropriate responsibility in our relationships. On a larger scale, we wonder how to preserve the planet and the best of human culture for our children to be born in the future. It is a delicate balancing act and knowing what to give to immediate and distant family, friends, the needy, the church and the job becomes harder when resources seem limited.

Because we know such great need at a natural level, a plea for supernatural Wisdom should rise from within us with heartfelt poignance. The Wisdom that comes from God must lift us above a plea for holiday sanity or mere survival. It is the Wisdom that will certainly shake her head in disgust and sorrow at the way the world is heading with its so-called cleverness, especially in the area of eliminating babies and the unborn. One can only wish that this was a joke...

O Wisdom... really come and teach us the way of truth!

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Young Minstrel said...

Like Hope
Translation shineth in the world of the lost XD

but...Sapientia sounds reptile-ish..*goosebumps*

i looked up a little more n it seems like it's "Sophia" in Greek and it leads up to a series of books (scrolls?) written around the 1st and 3rd century BC which..are the "books" found in the Bible?

Unknown said...

Hi Aloy, just an occasion to say, all a happy ministry of the season as you count down the days. Thanks, also for the synchronized X'mas message.

Anonymous said...

This joke is all created by men trying to be God with all the technologies and knowledge and brillant minds with the attitude that we have the rights to control life and nature until they get so carried away that things in nature get out of control, leading to so many adverse impact on us and make our world sick. Therefore, it is even more essential to stay close to God for Wisdom, allowing the Holy Spirit in us to guide us to wise decisions with our God given resources and time. Ultimately, all the resources and time are blessed by God for us to share Love with the others. I guess we suffer from dementia from time to time and we need reminders that we are just stewards but not owners with what we have. We don't deserve them and we accept them with gratitude due to grace as gift from God to us.

With Love,
God's child


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