THE ‘O’ ANTIPHONS: O Oriens – 21st December


In Advent, we nurture the coming of the infant Jesus. He grows inside us, just as Mary guarded His being in her womb. We prepare the manger, our hearts, to receive Him with joy.

The Advent Antiphon of the Little Office, and the Angelus, from the Gospel of Luke:

“Behold the handmaid of the Lord; Be it done unto me according to Thy Word.”

Our Lady is the perfect and exclusive “mould of God.” She is perfection in her great humility and faith from the Angel to the foot of the Cross. It is this faith, together with letting go of attachment to the material world, attachment to self and pride, that we must endeavour to attain through meditation on her and the qualities that she exhibited throughout. When we meditate on the mysteries of the Rosary, we must scrutinise and examine, ponder the circumstances and qualities of each mystery; we must analyse and then, once we understand, contemplate and meditate upon her and the depth of the qualities that are revealed to us, present in her. When we look at her, we will find grace acting upon us. As St Louis de Montfort shows us, in a true and complete devotion to Mary, we will be able to clothe ourselves in her qualities of humility and faith, and, with her assistance, make living images of those virtues, to live our lives more fully, more generously and authentically. When we do things, when we live our lives, with the mind and heart of Mary, we do things and live our lives with the mind and heart of Jesus Christ – we imitate God. To us, God is not distant – in the Incarnation, God became man through the Virgin’s womb. He deigned to become human, doing so by conception, nurtured inside Mary, with her virtues – humility, patience, charity. She was full of the Word of God; full of grace. We look to Jesus living in Mary. Mary takes us to Jesus.


The family, together, say the Great Antiphon, followed by The Magnificat, and repeat the Antiphon at the close of evening prayer, or Vespers.

O ORIENS splendor lux eternae, et sol justiciae: veni et illumina sedentes in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

O DAYSPRING, Brightness of light eternal, and Sun of Justice, come and enlighten them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.

My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God, my Saviour.For He hath regarded the humility of His handmaiden: For behold, from henceforth, all generations shall call me blessed. For He that is mighty hath done great things to me, and holy is His name.And His mercy is from generation unto generations upon them that fear Him. He hath shewed might in His arm. He hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their hearts. He hath cut down the mighty from their seat and hath exalted the humble. He hath filled the hungry with good things and the rich He hath sent empty away.He hath received Israel, His servant, being mindful of His mercy. As He spoke to our father, Abraham, and his seed, forever.

Magnificat anima mea Dominum, et exultavit spiritus meus in Deo salvatore meo, quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae.Ecce enim ex hocd beatam me dicent omnes generationes, quia fecit mihi magna, qui potens est, et sanctum Nomen eius, et misericordia eieus in progenies et progenies timentibus eum.Fecit potentiam in brachio suo, dispersit superbos mente codi sui; deposuit potentes de sede et exaltavit humiles; ensurientes implevit bonis et divites dimusit inanes.Suscepit Israel purum suum, recordatus misericordiae, sicut locutus est ad patres nostros, Abraham et semini eius in saecula.

[Isaiah had prophesied, The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shown. (Isaiah 9:1)]

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