My Spring Reading List!

After the heavier reading of Lent, I thought I'd like to continue some inspirational spiritual reading through the Easter season as well. 

Here's my book list!

Private and Pithy lessons from Scripture - Mother Angelica
Little Book of Life Lessons - Mother Angelica
Three to Get Married - Fulton Sheen
The Little Oratory
Diary Sister Faustina
Getting Past Perfect - Kate Wicker
The Words We Pray - Amy Welborn
Perfectly Yourself - Matthew Kelly 
Crossing the Threshold of Hope - Pope John Paul II

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The O Antiphons Start Today!

o antiphons
Slowly through the years, Mr. Pete and I made little baby steps in reclaiming our Catholic heritage and culture. During this time of year, our first step was having an Advent Wreath. We progressed to having our very own Jesse Tree or variations thereof, And a few years ago we started the O Antiphons because we had an interest in learning to pray the Divine Office. I have teens and a very mature 10 year old.  They will totally be up for saying these prayers. But ten years ago when they were 7, 6 and newborn that would have been much harder.  It's okay to say these prayers alone or with your spouse after the kids have gone to bed.

Six years ago Izzy decorated these disks to commemorate the O Antiphons.  She is now updating them and I'll have those pictures as she completes them.
december 2009 080

Each year starting December 17, the Church begins the seven Great "O" Antiphons of the liturgy, that date back to the seventh or eighth century. These antiphons are chanted or recited at Vespers, or Evening Prayer, the Antiphon before the Magnificat. They are also the Alleluia verse at the Mass. Each antiphon begins with "O" and include a different Scriptural image through the Old Testament, all imploring the Messiah to come.

As Elsa Chaney in Twelve Days of Christmas states, "

The theme of the Advent season has been one of joyous expectancy
as the Church, in vigilant preparation, waited and watched for
the first signs of the coming of the Lord. The very name Advent,
and the Masses of the four Sundays with their urgent plea to
Christ to "hasten and delay not" have reminded us that we are
awaiting His coming in grace at Christmas, and in glory at the
end of time. On the evening of December 17 the last and most intensive phase
of Advent preparation begins. On this evening is inaugurated the
first of the Great "O's" of Advent. The "O Antiphons" are seven
jewels of liturgical song, one for each day until Christmas Eve.
They seem to sum up all our Advent longing as they paint in vivid
terms the wretched condition of mankind and his need of a Savior.

Addressing Christ with seven magnificent titles, they beg Him
with mounting impatience to come to save His people. The "O Antiphons" are intoned with special solemnity in
monasteries at the Vesper Hour, before and after our Lady's great
song of thanksgiving, the Magnificat, which is sung every evening
as the climax of this Hour of the Divine Office.

Father Saunders explains the O Antiphons very clearly here along with the appropriate scripture.

The importance of “O Antiphons” is twofold: Each one highlights a title for the Messiah: O Sapientia (O Wisdom), O Adonai (O Lord), O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse), O Clavis David (O Key of David), O Oriens (O Rising Sun), O Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations), and O Emmanuel. Also, each one refers to the prophecy of Isaiah of the coming of the Messiah.

Below is each antiphon and a bit about each meaning with a link to ways my family has celebrated them in the past! I love the connection food has in celebration in the liturgical year. It helps everyone remember what the antiphon focuses on and it helps us to focus on a different aspect of preparing to meet Jesus in His nativity.

December 17:

O antiphon for December 17. Wisdom o holy word of God.
O Wisdom that comest out of the mouth of the Most High, that reachest from one end to another, and orderest all things mightily and sweetly, come to teach us the way of prudence!

O Sapientia, quæ ex ore Altissimi prodiisti, attingens a fine usque ad finem, fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia: veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiæ.

In the past we've had chocolate for the "sweetly" part, but today I'm opting to serve fish, because fish is brain food and that goes with wisdom!

From Dom Gueranger's Liturgical Year via O Night Divine Blog

See Catholic Cuisine for celebration ideas!

More Antiphon information in delicious.

Here is a resource list to help you further your Advent Journey!

December 18:


O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel, qui Moysi in igne flammæ rubi apparuisti, et ei in Sina legem dedisti: veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento

O sacred Lord of ancient Israel, who showed yourself to Moses in the burning bush, who gave him the holy law on Sinai mountain: come, stretch out your mighty hand to set us free.

December 19

Root of Jesse, which standest for an ensign of the people, at Whom the kings shall shut their mouths, Whom the Gentiles shall seek, come to deliver us, do not tarry.

 O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum, super quem continebunt reges os suum, quem Gentes deprecabuntur: veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli tardare.

December 20

O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel; qui aperis, et nemo claudit; claudis, et nemo aperit: veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris, sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

O Key of David, and Sceptre of the house of Israel, that openeth and no man shutteth, and shutteth and no man openeth, come to liberate the prisoner from the prison, and them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death.

Come, and deliver him from the chains of prison who sits in darkness and in the shadow of death (Ps 107: 10).

December 21

O Oriens: “O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.” Isaiah had prophesied, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shown.” (9:1).

O Rising Dawn (O Oriens): O Rising Dawn, Radiance of the Light eternal and Sun of Justice; Come, enlighten those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death.

December 22

O Rex Gentium: “O King of all the nations, the only joy of every human heart; O Keystone of the mighty arch of man, come and save the creature you fashioned from the dust.” Isaiah had prophesied, “For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.” (9:5), and “He shall judge between the nations, and impose terms on many peoples. They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again.” (2:4) .

December 23

O Emmanuel: “O Emmanuel, king and lawgiver, desire of the nations, Savior of all people, come and set us free, Lord our God.” Isaiah had prophesied, “The Lord himself will give you this sign: the Virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel.”

(7:14). Remember “Emmanuel” means “God is with us.”

Father Saunders explains the O Antiphons very clearly here along with the appropriate scripture.

The symbols of the antiphons and explanation here via Catholic Culture

Here are some delightful crafts and antiphon activities!

Catholic Icing

Antiphon Guide from O Night Divine!

Just Another Day In Paradise: O Antiphon Activities

“O Antiphon” House « Our Domestic Church

By Sun and Candleight o' Antiphon House

Heart of My Home
Shower of Roses

St. Athanasias Academy
O Antiphon activities!

Jesse Tree Treasures

O'Night Divine - the symbols, the prayers, and links for the O Antiphons!

Fisheaters has the actual chants in Latin for download!

Tons of good resources at Illuminated Ink!

Elsa Chaney's Twelve Days of Christmas FREE on EWTN

Also the Christmas Novena can be started today!