O Antiphons | December 17 - 23
In joyful anticipation of the coming birth of Christ, Catholics have said or sung O Antiphons since the eighth century. For seven days beginning December 17, the verses are read before the Magnificat during evening prayer or before the gospel at Mass. Originally written in Latin and taken from the Old Testament — namely, Isaiah, each verse begins by addressing Jesus using an Old Testament title (Emmanuel, Rex Gentium, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia). Togther, the first letter of each title form the Latin phrase ERO CRAS, which means “I shall come tomorrow.”
O come, O Wisdom from on high,
Who order all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.
(O Lord or O Ruler)
O come, O come, great Lord of might,
Who to your tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times once gave the Law
In cloud and majesty and awe.
O RADIX JESSE
(O Root of Jesse)
O come, O Rod of Jesse’s stem,
From ev’ry foe deliver them
That trust your mighty power to save,
And give them vict’ry o’er the grave.
O CLAVIS DAVID
(O Key of David)
O come, O Key of David, come,
And open wide our heav’nly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
(O Radiant Dawn)
O come, O Dayspring from on high,
And cheer us by your drawing nigh;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadow put to flight.
O REX GENTIUM
(O King of Nations)
O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of humankind;
O bid our sad divisions cease,
And be for us our King of Peace.
(O God With Us)
O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.