“O Emmanuel. O God with us.” That is the “O Antiphon,” one among seven, with which we’re most acquainted, sung in that marvelous hymn, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” These Latin texts echo the names of Christ revealed in Scripture and are sung the final week of Introduction earlier than Christmas Eve.
These antiphons have been sung for the reason that eighth century. After we sing them, we’re not solely linked to the Roman Church 13 centuries in the past but additionally to prayers from the Previous Testomony, as they draw from historic messianic imagery. These names for the Christ are wealthy in theology and inform us precisely who he’s, calling him with the crucial, “come,” or “O.”
The antiphons are based mostly on Isaiah’s prophecies, and the names are: O Sapientia (O Knowledge), O Adonai (O Lord), O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse), O Clavis David (O Key of David), O Oriens (O Dayspring), O Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations) and O Emmanuel (O God with Us). Every identify reveals the longing of the Israelites and us as a Church as we await the Lord’s return.
I like how liturgy returns these names to my lips. Every year, I neglect. I neglect who Jesus is. Many who have no idea Jesus misunderstand or misrepresent his character. Some inform us he’s somebody he isn’t. This has been taking place for hundreds of years. It mustn’t shock me. However every year, I whisper the names within the O Antiphons and really feel emboldened. I bear in mind who he really is. In John’s Gospel, Jesus says, “I’ll do no matter you ask in my identify” (14:13–14). These names of God reveal his energy.
Once I pray the antiphons, they grow to be a part of my dialog with Jesus. He jogs my memory who he’s. I’m reminded that that is the spirit I’ve inside me, O Emmanuel. I keep in mind that he was the one foretold: O Radix Jesse, O Clavis David, O Rex Gentium. In O Oriens, I’m reminded that he has been there all the time, even when the world was darkish and void, and in it, God introduced his wonderful gentle. And I evoke his knowledge and authority by means of invoking O Sapientia and O Adonai over all, particularly me.
In praying these names, I do know God is trustworthy, not simply in my life however all through the ages. I get to know Jesus higher. And I await in joyful expectation his return.