Today in the Canonry we begin the singing of the “O” Antiphons at Vespers. These are sung from the 16th until the 23rd of December.
For the chant itself, please see this previous posting.
The Roman Rite begins the Great Antiphons on the 17th, but we sing the first, “O Sapientia,” on 16th, because we sing an extra Antiphon, “O Virgo Virginum” in honour of Our Blessed Lady on the 23rd. This was a common medieval practice that our Order maintains (it was also sung in the Sarum Use, for example, although the other medieval variant on the Roman Rite, “O Gabriel,” is not included in our Breviary).
It is the tradition in our Canonry to decorate the Christmas Tree on this day, reminding us that Christmas is getting ever closer! This external beautifying of our home reminds us that some internal cleaning and decorating also needs to happen – in our hearts. Confession, Meditation and some silent time in prayer are a good way to prepare for the coming of our Saviour at Christmas. He, Emmanuel, is coming to abide with us; so if he is to stay, he needs to find the manger of our souls warm and tidy! Let us ask Our Lady, whom we contemplate now in the last days of her pregnancy, to help us to welcome the Saviour as best as we can.
Ora pro nobis, Sancta Dei Genitrix
Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.