From December 17th to Christmas Day we shift our Advent focus from one of anticipating Christ’s second coming to one of rejoicing in the expectation of his first coming - the Nativity which will be the focus of the next reflection.
The Church has adopted a series of seven special antiphons to accompany the Magnificat during Vespers for this time of Advent. They are called the “Great O Antiphons” with each beginning being the acclamation “O.” These antiphons address the Messiah according to a specific biblical title: Wisdom, Lord of Israel, Flower of Jesse’s Stem, Key of David, Radiant Dawn, King of All Nations; Keystone of the Church, and Emmanuel.
The Great O Antiphons are poetic meditations on the Paschal Mystery of the Messiah calling us to live our lives now in the hope of his second coming promised to us in his first coming among us as a man.
During this last week of Advent consider meditating on these O Antiphons and their meaning. It is a good time to renew our Franciscan prayer life and our commitment to some form of daily Liturgical Prayer particularly The Liturgy of the Hours especially Morning Prayer (Lauds) and Evening Prayer (Vespers).
O Come, Emmanuel! With joyful confidence we await the birth of Our Lord and Savior who, although consubstantial with God the Father, emptied himself to be born in poverty and humility of a “fully human” Mother.
May the blessings of the Christmas Season be a great source of JOY and PEACE to all of you and yours and continue to deepen your Franciscan vocation!
Manuel Cortez, ofs