The public prayers of the Church consist not only of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass but also of the Divine Office, the prayers of the priests' Breviary. The Office was at one time chanted daily by the faithful, and is still chanted by some religious Orders. Certain parishes are reviving the custom of having Solemn Vespers on the eve or afternoon of major feasts. The Magnificat or Canticle of the Blessed Virgin Mary is chanted near the end of Vespers. Starting on December 17 a series of Antiphons are added to Vespers before and after the Magnificat. Just to read these "O Antiphons" each day would be a wonderful part of any Catholic's preparation for Christmas!
"The following great Antiphons are said entire before and after the Magnificat, from the 17th to the 23rd of December, inclusive. If the Vespers are of a first or second class double, the great Antiphon is said after the prayer of the feast, for the commemoration of Advent."
|O SAPIENTIA, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti, attingens a fine usque ad finem, fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia: veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.||O WISDOM that comest out of the mouth of the Most High, that reachest from one end to another, and dost mightily and sweetly order all things: come to teach us the way of prudence!|
|O ADONAI, et Dux domus Israel, qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti, et ei in Sina legem dedisti: veni ad redimendurn nos in brachio extento.||O ADONAI, and Ruler of the house of Israel, who didst appear unto Moses in the burning bush, and gavest him the law in Sinai: come to redeem us with an outstretched arm!|
|O RADIX Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum, super quem continebunt rages os suum, quem Gentes deprecabuntur: veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli tardare.||O ROOT of Jesse, which standest for an ensign of the people, at whom the kings shall shut their mouths, whom the Gentiles shall seek: come to deliver us, make no tarrying.|
|O CLAVIS David, et sceptrum domus Israel; qui aperis, et nemo claudit; claudis, et nemo aperit; veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris, sedentern in tenebris, et umbra mortis.||O KEY of David, and Sceptre of the house of Israel; that openest and no man shutteth; and shuttest and no man openeth: come to bring out the prisoner from the prison, and them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death.|
|O ORIENS, splendor lucis aeternae, et sol justitiae: veni, et illumina sedentes is tenebris, et umbra mortis.||O DAYSPRING, Brightness of the everlasting light, Sun of Justice, come to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death!|
|O REX Gentium, et desideratus earum, lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum: veni, et salva hominem, quem de limo, formasti.||O KING of the Gentiles, yea, and desire thereof, 0 Comer- that makest of two one: come to save man, whom Thou hast made of the dust of the earth!|
|O EMMANUEL, Rex et legifer noster, exspectatio Gentium, et Salvator earum: veni ad salvandum nos, Domine, Deus noster.||O EMMANUEL, our King and our Lawgiver, Longing of the Gentiles; yea, and salvation thereof: come to save us, 0 Lord our God!|
My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;
He has shown might with His arm,