Antiphonae Majores

It’s that time of year again, the great “O” Antiphons are back, to guide us through to Christmas. They are Magnificat antiphons, one for each day leading up to 23rd December. We Norbertines begin to sing them on 16th December, one day before the Roman Rite, since we include the ancient marian antiphon “O Virgo Virginum” on 23rd December.

We invite you to visit our previous post on the “O” Antiphons, where you will find all the Norbertine Chants for these exquisite antiphons.

Looking at the chant itself for a moment, these antiphons are written in the somewhat mournful yet hopeful Second Tone; this, coupled with the “O” that begins each antiphon, has led some devotional commentators to suggest that these antiphons are the cries of the Church in travail; Holy Mother Church is about to bring forth, as it were, the Saviour of the world.

Our Lady in her Expectation (see picture below) is the model of the Church at this time, hopefully waiting for the birth of her Divine Son, preparing exteriorly and interiorly for His Coming, His Advent among us.

Our Lady's Expectation

Let us then clean out the stable of our souls from every sin and defilement; let us prepare the manger of our hearts, lovingly laying down fresh straw for the King of Kings to lie upon. Let us prepare ourselves to welcome our Redeemer with warmth and tenderness, who Himself was humble enough to enter our cold, dark world as a Man, in order to bring it Light and Salvation.

Come, Lord, and do not delay!

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