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The Great “O” Antiphons of Advent
In the Church’s Liturgy of the Hours, Evening Prayer, also known as Vespers, always includes the great prayer of Mary known as the Magnificat. Each day, the Magnificat is preceded by a short Verse or “antiphon” that links the prayer to the feast of the day or the season of the year. In the last seven days of Advent (December 17-24), the antiphons before the Magnificat are very special. Each begins with the exclamation “O” and ends with a plea for the Messiah to come. As Christmas approaches the cry becomes increasingly urgent. These moving “O Antiphons” were composed in the seventh or eighth century When monks put together texts from the Old Testament which looked forward to The coming of our salvation. They form a rich, interlocking mosaic of scriptural Images. The great “O Antiphons” became very popular in the Middle Ages when it became traditional to ring the great bells of the church each evening as they were being sung.
A particularly fascinating feature of the O Antiphons is that the first letter of each invocation, when read backwards, forms an acrostic in Latin: the first letters of Sapientia, Adonai, Radix, Clavis, Oriens, Rex, and Emmanuel in reverse form the Latin words: ERO CRAS. These can be understood as the words of Christ, Responding to his people’s plea, saying”Tomorrow I will be there.” Saying the O Antiphons as a family, whether during grace at meals, in front of the Manger scene, or in front of the Christmas tree, is a wonderful Advent devotion. To make this devotion even more fruitful, read and meditate together on the Scripture texts on which the antiphons are based.
“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.”
December 18th: “O Adonai and leader of Israel, you appeared to Moses in a burning bush and you gave him the Law on Sinai. O come and save us with your mighty power.”
December 19th: “O stock of Jesse, you stand as a signal for the nations; kings fall silent before you whom the peoples acclaim. O come to deliver us, and do not delay.”
December 20th: “O key of David and sceptre of Israel, what you open no one else can close again; what you close no one can open. O come to lead the captive from prison; free those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.”
December 21st: “O Rising Sun, you are the splendour of eternal light and the Sun of justice. O come and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.”
December 22nd: “O King whom all the peoples desire, you are the cornerstone which makes all one. O come and save man whom you made from clay.”
December 23rd: “O Emmanuel, you are our king and judge, the One whom the peoples await and their Saviour. O come and save us, Lord, our God.”
Courtesy of Crossroads Ministries PO Box 271227 + Flower Mound, TX + 75027 + 1-800-803-0118 + www.dritaly.com
Fr.Kev’s Frozen Christmas Pudding
Here in mainland Australia, we usually have a hot Christmas Day. However, when I was based at St.Joseph’s in Hobart, we had three White Christmases in a row…well, Mt Wellington which dominates the City’s landscape had a nice dusting of Snow on its peak. In Hobart…it was freezing; and the chill factor made it worse.
Now back to the point, most of us Anglo-Hibernian people still go for a traditional Hot Christmas Dinner, even if it is 30 Degrees Celsius ….old habits die hard! Being a very keen Cook myself, I have come up with what I believe is a fantastic Recipe…. (Your Calorie count might need to take a ‘break’ if you try this one)
1 Litre of good quality Vanilla Ice Cream….In Australia, I suggest Sara Lee Ice cream.
1 Cup of mixed fruit (I further suggest a generous handful of Raspberries)
Half a cup of mixed Nuts….optional! If you have false teeth, this ingredient can end up being a minefield!
Half a cup of glazed cherries.
Half a cup of Peter Van Gent’s Pipe Clay Port from Mudgee NSW. If you live in the UK, go down near Trafalgar Square, there are a couple of Shops that sell imported Australian Wines. If you live anywhere else…see if you can choose a nice earthy port!
Half a cup of Fresh Cream. For Australians, you can’t beat King Island Cream from Bass Strait!
Soften Ice Cream in a large bowl, gradually add all the other ingredients, and mix slowly with a Wooden Spoon. Please don’t be tempted in using a metal spoon….I can assure you that it will not turn out properly. Why you might ask? I don’t know the answer……
Empty contents into a suitable round Freezer proof dish, and then refreeze.
When ready to serve up, cut into slices, and then gently pour a little amount of beautiful Raspberry Puree on top of each serving, so that it drips down the sides. Enjoy!!!! Use a Tea spoon instead of a desert spoon, because it then lasts longer……After a decent rest, you might need to have a brisk family walk for about 3 miles……… What is left over from the Pudding, quickly cover with glad wrap, and put it back in the Freezer till you get the hunger pangs for a midnight feast!!!!!!!!!!