During the final seven evenings of Advent, which begin on December 17, the antiphons for the Magnificat during evening prayer all begin with ‘O’ followed by a different name for the Messiah. The various names for the prophesied Christ originate from the book of Isaiah the prophet, to whom we hear from mostly during the Advent Season. As a group, these antiphons are known as the O Antiphons. The most common Advent hymn, O Come Emmanuel, is a hymn variation of these seven names of the Messiah. We will spend the next seven evenings looking at each in turn as we journey toward Christmas Day.
December 17: O Sapientia antiphon (AKA the O Wisdom antiphon).
O Wisdom of our God Most High, guiding creation with power and love: come to teach us the path of knowledge!
Isaiah Reference: And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. (Isaiah 11:2)
The original chant (heard here or in video below) speaks of all creation being guided with power and love. As one who loses his way in all manners of speaking, knowing that I have a loving guide brings me peace and shines light on a path, one of knowledge of his presence. I don’t feel as alone navigating life.
As we pray to our God to teach us, we acknowledge our connectedness, and place value on the reality of a sacred togetherness. Even if you feel alone, you have to believe in our blessed oneness. This Wisdom of God will not leave you orphaned. Wisdom, often portrayed biblically as feminine, guides us to ask “what mother could ever leave a child orphaned?”
O Sapientia, guide us together to love as you love.