December 17: O Wisdom

Today the Church continues a centuries-old liturgical tradition of singing the “O Antiphons.” Since the eighth century, the Roman Church has sung these antiphons during the celebration of Vespers (Evening Prayer). “They are a magnificent theology that uses ancient biblical imagery drawn from the messianic hopes of the Old Testament to proclaim the coming Christ as the fulfillment not only of Old Testament hopes, but present ones as well. Their repeated use of the imperative “Come!” embodies the longing of all for the Divine Messiah.”1

Latin

O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti, attingens a fine usque ad finem, fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia: veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.

English

O Wisdom, Who didst come out of the mouth of the Most High, reaching from end to end and ordering all things mightily and sweetly: come and teach us the way of prudence.

The first part of today’s O Antiphon quotes the book of Sirach: “I came forth from the mouth of the Most High, and covered the earth like a mist” (Sirach 24:3). The second part quotes the book of Wisdom: “She reaches mightily from one end of the earth to the other, and she orders all things well” (Wisdom 8:1). In it we see Wisdom personified, a prefigurement of Christ, dwelling with God the Father at the beginning of time. We cry out, asking Him to come and teach us prudence, the highest of the intellectual virtues.

Let us pray:

O God, Creator and Redeemer of human nature,
who willed that your Word should take flesh
in an ever-virgin womb,
look with favor on our prayers,
that your Only Begotten Son,
having taken to himself our humanity,
may be pleased to grant us a share in his divinity.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.2

(1) See: http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/prayers-and-devotions/prayers/the-o-antiphons-of-advent.cfm
(
2) See: Roman Missal, Collect December 17.