Do you want to go deeper into Advent? To taste the turbulence of desire and hope, to wait with your disturbances, sin, for the radical choice of a God who will decide to come amongst us? A God who will balm but who is also just? These dynamic tensions, arrest us immediately, drop us to our knees, and wring from our hearts the absolute awe at the majesty of a God beyond anything we are able to imagine. But then, this is the prophetic imagination!
Come…we are called!
Thinking Faith from the Jesuits in Britain takes us on a journey through the most ancient texts O Antiphons …
The O Antiphons shape the Church’s liturgy in the days leading up to Christmas. Liturgist Andrew Cameron-Mowat SJ explains how the antiphons function during Evening Prayer and as Gospel Acclamations, and introduces the ancient texts that Thinking Faith will explore over the coming weeks.
The O Antiphons, as they are commonly called, are the chants of ancient origin sung or recited at the beginning and end of the Magnificat during the service of Evening Prayer on each of the days leading up to Christmas Day, from 17-23 December. (There is no need for an O Antiphon on Christmas Eve as Evening Prayer for that date is the ‘Evening Prayer I of Christmastide’.)
With the reform of the Lectionary and Divine Office after the Second Vatican Council, it was decided to introduce the O Antiphons into the Liturgy of the Word as the Gospel Acclamation during Mass, choosing an antiphon that was related to some aspect of the scripture assigned to the Mass for that day. On some of the days there is a choice of O Antiphon, which is left to the discretion of the cantor.
This decision meant that there is a difference between the order of the antiphons used in Evening Prayer – whose first letters in reverse spell ero cras, ‘tomorrow I will be’ – and the order used for the Gospel Acclamations, whose selection is determined by the scripture for the day rather than by tradition.
It may be helpful to see this in tabular form:
Click here to continue reading. This article contains links for you to follow in the lead-up to Christmas.