Advent: O Antiphons

Almost everyone has heard the carol “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.”  That carol is an adaptation of “the O antiphons”, a series of liturgical prayers for the eight days before Christmas that date back at least to around the year 600.  Originally in Latin, each verse begins with a messianic title for Jesus, refers to a text about the coming savior from Isaiah, and ends with a plea for his coming.  There is also a secret twist to the titles: if you take the first letter of each Latin title in reverse order, you get the Latin words “ero cras,” meaning, “Tomorrow, I will come.”  The Christ addressed in the verses answers the pleas of his people with the joyful promise of his coming.  Read more about the O Antiphons here.

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