“O Wisdom, O holy Word of God, you govern all creation with your strong yet tender care: Come and show your people the way to salvation.”
The “O Antiphons” refer to the seven antiphons that are prayed immediately before the Magnificat during Evening Prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours, the official prayer of the Church. Each antiphon begins with the exclamation “O”. They cover the special period of Advent preparation known as Late Advent Weekday (December 17-23). On December 24th, of course, the Church prays Evening Prayer of the Christmas Vigil.
The O Antiphons emphasize a different prophetic title of the Messiah as mentioned by the prophet Isaiah. Specifically, the titles of the promised Savior were Wisdom, Lord of Israel, Root of Jesse, Key of David, Radiant Dawn, King of All Nations, and Emmanuel.
“Wisdom is to the soul what health is to the body.” This anonymous quote really sums it all up. Wisdom, that first and highest gift of the Holy Spirit, is the perfection of faith. Through Wisdom, we judge the things of this world in the light of our highest goal: eternity with God.
Wisdom helps us to direct our lives. It gives us the grace that we need to navigate in our material world as we try to deepen ourselves in the spiritual world.
As we prepare for the celebration of Christmas, we need Wisdom so that we do not become absorbed in the material. Without Wisdom, we might think that Christmas is nothing more than an elaborate birthday party for Jesus.
While it is the remembrance of Christ’s birth, Wisdom tells us that Christmas is much more. It is also the reminder that Jesus will come again in glory. If we are to be ready for that great spiritual union, we must look past our worldly lives and concentrate on the other-worldly, on the Lord.
This all sounds very complicated. I am well aware of it. It sounds complicated because it is complicated. Our world seeks to ensnare us with layers of deceit. Wisdom seeks to free us from the clutches of the world so that we may focus upon God more clearly.
FAITH ACTION: Reflect upon the following verse from O Come, O Come Emmanuel and pray for the gift of Wisdom to be given to you more abundantly.
O come, O Wisdom from on high,
who orders all things mightily;
to us the path of knowledge show
and teach us in her ways to go.