The Great O Antiphons ~ A Preparation for Christmas

December 17, 2020 |

The O Antiphons begin during the final week of Advent. They help deepen our Advent preparation and hopeful expectation as we draw closer, day by day, to the celebration Christ’s birth among us. These antiphons are ancient messianic titles for Christ and they come from the Old Testament. Each one expresses a deep longing for the coming of the Messiah.

The O Antiphons can be found in the Liturgy of the Hours and are usually sung – as the antiphon for the Canticle of the Mary, her Magnificat – during Vespers (Evening Prayer). We hear these same antiphons sung beautifully in the Advent hymn, O Come, O Come, Emanuel.

Take a few moments for quiet prayer during this final week of Advent to pray and reflect on the seven O Antiphons. Read and meditate on the biblical passages that accompany each antiphon. Listen to each antiphon sung to an ancient Gregorian chant. Pray Mary’s Magnificat each day.

MAGNIFICAT – Luke 1:46-55

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;
For he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations shall call me blessed.

The Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.

He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel,
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,

The promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and his children for ever.




Daryl Moresco, O. Carm.
Br. Daryl Moresco OCarm. is the Co-Director of Carmelite Novices in Middletown, NY.
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