Cloisters of Saint John Lateran, Rome. Source:

Thursday, 17 December 2015

The Great O Antiphons. 17 December.

Text and Illustrations taken from The Saint Andrew Daily Missal, 
unless otherwise stated.

English: Madonna and Child.
Deutsch: Sixtinische Madonna, Szene: Maria mit Christuskind, 
Hl. Papst Sixtus II. und Hl. Barbara.
Artist: Raphael (1483 - 1520).
Current location: Gemäldegalerie, Dresden, Germany.
Source/Photographer: The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei. DVD-ROM, 2002. 
ISBN 3936122202. Distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH.
Permission: [1]
(Wikimedia Commons)

The Boundless desire for The Coming of Christ, which is a feature of the whole of Advent, is expressed in The Liturgy with an impatience which grows greater, the closer we come to Christmas and, so to speak, to the World's end.

"The Lord comes from far" (First Vespers, First Sunday of Advent).
"The Lord will come" (Introit, Second Sunday of Advent).
"The Lord is nigh" (Introit. Third Sunday in Advent).

This gradation will be emphasised throughout the whole Season, ever more and more.

Thus, on 17 December, begin The Greater Antiphons, which, from their initial letters, are called the "O Antiphons", and which form an impassioned appeal to The Messias, whose prerogatives and glorious Titles they make known to us.

Dom Guéranger [Editor: He who was the author of "The Liturgical Year"] affirms that those Antiphons contain the "whole marrow" of The Advent Liturgy.

On account of their number, Honorius of Autun connects them with The Seven Gifts of The Holy Ghost, with which Our Lord was filled.

O Sapientia.
The Great O Antiphon
for 17 December.
Available on YouTube at

17 December: Ecclesiasticus xxiv. 5; Wisdom viii. 1

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,
who camest out of the mouth of the Most High,
reaching from end to end and ordering all things
      mightily and sweetly:
come and teach us the way of prudence.

V. Rorate.

"Rorate caeli desuper, et nubes pluant justium . . ."
"Ye heavens, drop down from above, and let the clouds rain down the Just One."


  1. I remember this 'picture' so well; hanging on the Hall wall in my school (Sts Henry & Elisabeth RC School, Sheerness)

    1. Delighted you have fond memories of this wonderful painting, John.

      I'm pleased to say that I attended a Priestly Induction at the Church of SS Henry and Elisabeth, Sheerness, a few years ago.

      Was it your graffiti on the outside of the Church wall ?

      It was beautifully "graved" and "inscripted".

      in Domino

    2. We married there in 1959! the graffiti was from a later time.

      I was an altar-boy there, 7 days a week + funerals and marriages.
      I told you before- I think - that a great man, Fr Leonard O'Donnell showed me how to draw in pen & ink.

      Thank you for the Christmas Card, I still can't work out how to reply!!

    3. How spooky, John. Small World, indeed !!!

      To reply to my Christmas Card, just hit the bit where it says "Send A Reply".

      The Graffito (there is only one) is, indeed, a work of art.


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