The final days of Advent, December 17-23, are marked by praying the O Antiphons.
What are they? The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops tells us this:
The Roman Church has been singing the “O Antiphons” since at least the eighth century. They are the antiphons that accompany the Magnificat canticle of Evening Prayer from December 17-23. They are a magnificent theology that uses ancient biblical imagery drawn from the messianic hopes of the Old Testament to proclaim the coming Christ as the fulfillment not only of Old Testament hopes, but present ones as well. Their repeated use of the imperative “Come!” embodies the longing of all for the Divine Messiah. [source]
Simple in form, these images of the Promised Messiah can linger in our hearts and minds as we travel through the last days leading us into Christmas. We know these words well, for we have sung them or heard them most of our lives in the great Advent song, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.”
We encourage you to visit our this page each day to take in the Antiphon for that day. We pray that as you move into Christmas, these prayers will aid you in doing so in peace.
Saturday, December 17 - O Wisdom
O Wisdom of our God Most High,
guiding creation with power and love:
come to teach us the path of knowledge!
O Holy Spirit of wisdom
may we recognize your creative genius and love
as vast as the universe
as local as our own breath.
We long for your presence:
lead us to know you.
Sunday, December 18 - O Adonai
O Leader of the House of Israel,
giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai:
come to rescue us with your mighty power!
O leading, guiding God!
you have handed us the law of love,
the law of life:
fill us each day with desire
to turn to your love
as the rule of our lives!
Monday, December 19 - O Root of Jesse
O Root of Jesse’s stem,
sign of God’s love for all his people:
come to save us without delay!
O Promise of Life renewed!
sign of hope for all people:
our hearts feel empty and barren;
only your seed of new life
will heal our ache.
Come and implant your love deep within!
Tuesday, December 20 - O Key of David
O Key of David,
opening the gates of God’s eternal Kingdom:
come and free the prisoners of darkness!
Revealer of all that has been hidden and
Seeker of the lost:
open our eyes,
unlock our minds,
enlighten our hearts,
restore our hearing,
that we may again walk in your love and life.
Wednesday, December 21 - O Radiant Dawn
O Radiant Dawn,
splendor of eternal light, sun of justice:
come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the
shadow of death.
O Great Light of Day!
At this darkest moment of the year
you calm our fears
and ignite hope
in all who suffer the darkness of pain, depression
and shadows of all ilk:
Shine your radiance into our lives!
Thursday, December 22 - O King of All
O King of all nations and keystone of the Church:
come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!
O God of all the Universe!
Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier
of every life
in all times and places:
Renew our Spirits!
Friday, December 23 - O Emmanuel
O Emmanuel, our King and Giver of Law:
come to save us, Lord our God!
O Emmanuel, God With Us!
We call to you from our very depths—
the very call of our ancestors in faith,
the cry of the poor and oppressed,
the plea of the hungry and broken,
the desire of all humankind,
throughout all time:
come O Lover of us All!
Friday, December 23
Advent 2016 Week Four: Video Reflection
All Angels sing “The Angel Gabriel”
Wednesday, December 21
Advent 2016 Week Four: Action
Every Christmas, it seems as though someone in some manner asks the question, “Why can’t it be like Christmas all year round?” Let that question inspire you to embody the hope and joy of this season as you go forward into the new year. Today, let that question encourage you in a random act of kindness!
Monday, December 19
Advent 2016 Week Four: Scripture Reflection
“Joseph, son of David,
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:
Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,
which means “God is with us.”
When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took his wife into his home.
This is it—we come to the final week of watching, waiting, and growing aware of God with Us—Emmanuel! This is the week to sit in the quiet around the lit tree, listening to Christmas carols, pondering the story of Christ’s Birth as you gaze upon your Nativity set…or perhaps this week is just plain chaos. Either way, we are being drawn closer to the realization that God so loved the world that God sent us Jesus, one like us. Let us remember that Jesus was born into a human family, sacred like all of our families. How is my family sacred you may ask? We all have our hurts and our brokenness. We are human. God with us—Emmanuel—reminds us that we are made lovingly in God’s image and likeness. We are the work of loving hands. the family shocked by the announcement of the imminent birth, The humble stable scene, the family on the run from the authorities—can’t we relate to some or all of these situations in some way shape or form? The Good News—God has come into our lives in a new way and continues to enter our lives in new ways. Everyday. God with us. Emmanuel.
Try to find five minutes this week to sit quietly and breathe in the evergreen, look at the lights, recall the story of the birth and take to heart God with us.
Friday, December 16
Advent 2016 Week Three: Video Reflection
“Patience People” by John Foley, S.J.
Wednesday, December 14
Advent 2016 Week Three: Action
Are there little ones in your life who are excited for the big holiday? Practice patience with their over-exuberance. Have you encountered frazzled adults while grocery and/or Christmas shopping? Pray for them to receive the gift of patience. Weather and traffic getting the best of you? Take a time out and breathe in the Holy Spirit—ask for patience.
Monday, December 12
Advent 2016 Week Three: Scripture Reflection
“Be patient, brothers and sisters,
until the coming of the Lord.
See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth,
being patient with it
until it receives the early and the late rains.
You too must be patient.
Make your hearts firm,
because the coming of the Lord is at hand.
Do not complain, brothers and sisters, about one another,
that you may not be judged.
Behold, the Judge is standing before the gates.
Take as an example of hardship and patience, brothers and sisters,
the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.”
Patience….one of the most difficult gifts to receive, yes? I recall that in my college days, my dad would pick me up from school on some Friday evenings on his way home from work. I was ready to go by 4:00 pm or 4:30 pm, but he could not arrive until 5:00 pm or 5:30 pm. Even though I knew this, I would pace and steam and act extremely impatient. After a year or so of this behavior, I began to look at the wait as an opportunity to cultivate patience. This opportunity continues to present itself often and wearing many disguises! James seems to be sharing this same insight—that patience will bear great fruit. We are changed in the waiting. The time of waiting becomes graced and rich and joyous.
In your waiting this week, try to take a deep breath and pray for the grace and joy of patience.
Friday, December 9
Advent 2016 Week Two: Video Reflection
“A Voice Cries Out” by Michael Joncas
Wednesday, December 7
Advent 2016 Week Two: Action
Christ enters our lives as we open ourselves to be Christ to each other. Offer an act of kindness to someone today and as you do so, remember that he/she is a bearer of Christ to the world.
Monday, December 5
Advent 2016 Week Two: Scripture Reflection
“On that day, a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse,
and from his roots a bud shall blossom.
The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him:
a spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
a spirit of counsel and of strength,
a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD,
and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD.
Not by appearance shall he judge,
nor by hearsay shall he decide,
but he shall judge the poor with justice,
and decide aright for the land’s afflicted.”
Are you inundated with the stuff of the season yet? All the symbols of a Merry and Joyful Christmas are out in abundance…have been so for a month already! Sleighs and Santas, wreaths and red berries, trees lit with gold and glitter and those hard to see blue LED bulbs…don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas decorations! Christmas music is among my favorite. The foods, the sounds, colors, movies, all of it is filled with deep memories and delights.
I was in a store a few weeks ago and was feeling seduced by the scents and packaging of this time of year when I had an unusual insight. I saw in my mind the leftovers of this season shoved together on a clearance shelf, where it all looked so broken and empty.
I sometimes feel that way—a bit broken and empty. The promises of my society are not held together by much more than some old ribbon, and just as easily broken.
When we turn to the season of Advent, of waiting, and watching, and praying, we receive a very different message. It is a message that is filled with a deep hope and joy. This picture of the stump of Jesse with a tiny bud sprouting into a shoot is powerful. One wants to nurture this promise. This hope brings with it real gifts, lasting gifts: wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge, fear of the Lord. These are the gifts of the season of waiting, watching, and praying for the Christ to awaken in us all.
What are you waiting for this Advent? This year?
What will you do to nurture the bud of faith, sprout of hope and love in your heart?
I encourage you to find and advent “touchstone” in your home this week—perhaps it is an Advent wreath, your tree, your Nativity set, or maybe the Christmas cards that you have already received? It might be the spot in which you placed your Bible last week. Spend a few moments at the start or end of your day sitting by your touchstone and consider which of the gifts Isaiah mentions above that you wish to nurture; ask God to grow this gift in your life.
Friday, December 2
Advent 2016 Week One: Video Reflection
“The Returning” by Janet Sullivan Whitaker
Wednesday, November 30
Advent 2016 Week One: Action
Consider finding a place in your home for a symbol of God With Us. You might want to place your Bible there and pray with the daily readings throughout Advent. You can easily access those readings here.
Monday, November 28
Advent 2016 Week One: Scripture Reflection
“Therefore, stay awake!
For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.
Be sure of this: if the master of the house
had known the hour of night when the thief was coming,
he would have stayed awake
and not let his house be broken into.
So too, you also must be prepared,
for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”
What does it mean to be prepared for God to come?
This season of Advent is an appropriate time to ponder this question. We await not only the birth of the Infant Jesus as remembered at Christmas [Christ has come], but we also look to that Last Judgment Day [Christ will come again]. Most profoundly let me suggest that we are called to prepare for and meet His coming in the now. Christ is with us, now. This event is able to be honored and celebrated and lived every moment of our day!
This reality is not the dramatic portrait of end times literature and art, nor is it the sweet and romantic vision of the Christmas card. Those are certainly images in our tradition, but might I encourage you this Advent to embrace Christ in our families, Christ in our enemies, Christ in the immigrant, Christ in the terrorist, Christ in whatever the “other” is that is so difficult to abide?
It is in the here and the now that we engage this Christ. As St. Paul reminds us, “Let us throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of Christ.” [Romans 13:12]. And as we are the hands and feet of Christ, Christ will be among us and we shall know his coming.
This first week of Advent, consider spending a few moments at the end of your day reflecting on where you met Christ and how you might be his hands and feet for someone tomorrow.
from The Brilliance
An opportunity for quiet reflection to music.
Waiting. It’s not an attractive word. It seems boring. What if you were waiting for something that would change your life? How would you get ready for it? Would you make yourself busy, filling your life with noise and distraction? Would you spend all your time doing everything but slowing down?
A Christmas Story: The Man And The Birds
As told by Paul Harvey – a wonderful way to understand the need for the Incarnation.
You Don't Know Jack...about Advent
Christ is Coming
Advent in 2 Minutes
The Advent Wreath
Veni Veni Emmanuel
More than any other time of year, the seasons of Advent and Christmas remind us that there are so many in need of our generosity. At times, this can be overwhelming as so many organizations are asking for help. Because there are so many, it can be difficult to know where our donations of gifts and money actually end up. Here at Our Lady of Lourdes, we offer you a few suggestions that you can be assured go directly to the recipients, both locally and internationally:
The Giving Tree
The Giving Tree provides gifts & gift certificates for children of all ages. A beautiful board in the classroom hallway gives you choices for your giving. In order to assure that these gifts make it on time for Christmas, the deadline is December 11.
Fleece Blankets for the Homeless
All are invited to join our youth to make fleece blankets for Repairer’s of the Breach and The Guest House on Saturday, December 17, 2016, from 2:30 pm – 5:00 pm. Help us care for those who are without homes.
Please come with:
- 2 1/2 yards plain fleece
- 2 1/2 yards print fleece
- A good scissors
Do not buy a kit. It will be too small.
This Christmas outreach opportunity is for beginner blanket makers to experts! Youth will be available to help make blankets for anyone who needs assistance.
Contact Mary Osep with any questions: (414) 545-4316 x15
The Mitten Tree
Another tradition here at Lourdes is the Mitten Tree, where new hand-crafted or store bought mittens, hats, scarves, and gloves are collected for adults and children at a couple of local parishes. The collection site will be in the Front Lobby and marked with a small tree and a wooden manger. The deadline for these gifts is December 18.
Catholic Relief Services
If you are interested in helping on a global scale, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) provides the opportunity to donate towards a diverse set of needs.
Serving the Hungry and Homeless