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O Sapientia

O sapientia, by Philip Chircop SJ. Antiphon for 17 December.

O sapientia, by Philip Chircop SJ. Antiphon for 17 December.

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, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High,
reaching from one end to the other,
mightily and sweetly ordering all things:
Come and teach us the way of prudence.

From the 17th to the 23rd of December, in the final days of Advent, the antiphons for the Magnificat at Vespers are particularly elaborate. Each antiphon is a title of the Messiah, and each refers to one of Isaiah’s prophecies of the Messiah.

These “O Antiphons”, in metrical form, comprise the verses of the familiar Christmas hymn, “O come, o come, Emmanuel”. The initials of the second word in each antiphon (“Sapientia”, “Adonai”, et cetera), taken in reverse order, form the acrostic ero cras, meaning “Tomorrow, I will be [there]”.

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