The Power of the O Antiphons

A reflection for the beginning of the O Antiphons by Mother Maria-Michael Newe, OSB.

Today we begin the great O Antiphons and we should be excited!  They have a history in the

monastic life that is profound.  They have been sung for centuries.  We’re doing something ever ancient and ever new.  For every age they will mean something different.  And we must look deeply for this meaning because it is bestowed each time we sing them.  We cry out to heaven once again: “Maranatha!  Come!  Come O Wisdom from on high!”

O Antiphons-edited contrast
O Antiphons (in Latin).  Calligraphy by the nuns of the Abbey of St. Walburga.



We have put the O Antiphons on our Christmas card* this year because THAT is what came, That is what took flesh.  God Himself came in all of those titles.  They’re powerful.  We should stand in awe before each one.  Each one should stop us in our tracks.

Today we have, “O Widsom of our God most high, guiding creation with power and love, come to teach us the path of knowledge.”  True knowledge.  True wisdom.  Having wisdom enables us to do everything through the eyes of heaven.  And who is heaven but Christ?  There’s a popular adage right now, “Do what Jesus would do”.  That is exactly what we should be aiming for.  That is exactly right.  We should weigh our decisions on eternity.

In chapter four of the Rule of St. Benedict says, “Your way of acting should be different from the world’s way, the love of Christ must come before all else.”  When we live that way we proclaim where we’re headed.  Our way MUST be different from that of the world.  We must value the things of heaven.  God says “Take care, first, of the things of heaven.  I’ll take care of the things of earth.  I’m the creator of ALL.”  If we live that way, we will die that way: with our eyes on eternity, on Jesus.  He is the one and the only one who will care for us.  He is the only one who will love us and love our souls to the fullest measure.  Nothing can reach the depth of the love that Christ’s love can reach.  Nothing.  Therefore we yearn for Him.  That’s why we’re attentive to the soul. We want it to be filled.  We go each day to pray the prayers of the Church, that we may be filled and walk according to the law of God, not of the world.  And today it’s going to take more to walk the ways of God.  They are not as appreciated or valued as they once were. But if one touches God, one can help but to strive to love God.  So much of our world isn’t involved enough with God and there’s emptiness.

So strive for the Wisdom of God.  Ask God for the Wisdom of Heaven.  It will be different from the way of the world and it should be.  Have you not chosen a way different?  Hang on to it. Embrace it and do not let it go.

We will see the face of Him whom we long for.  What we read, we will see in the flesh.  As we begin these days, embrace them.  Get excited about them within.  Pray them with delight.  Pay attention to what you are singing, because it has the touch of eternity.

*The front of Christmas card for the nuns this year has the O Antiphons written in calligraphy.