Posted in ADVENT PRAYERS, DANTE ALIGHIERI!, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, HYMNS, MARIAN POETRY, MARIAN TITLES, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, The INCARNATION, The NATIVITY of JESUS, The O ANTIPHONS

Our Morning Offering – 18 December – “O Virgo Virginum” and Maiden yet a Mother

Our Morning Offering – 18 December and also the Feast of Our Lady of Expectation

O Virgo Virginum

O Virgin of Virgins,
how shall this be?
For neither before thee was any like thee,
nor shall there be after.
Daughters of Jerusalem,
why marvel ye at me?
That which ye behold,
is a divine mystery.

Maiden yet a Mother
By Dante Alighieri (1265-1321)
Tr Msgr Ronald A Knox (1888-1957)

Maiden yet a mother,
daughter of thy Son,
high beyond all other,
lowlier is none;
thou the consummation
planned by God’s decree,
when our lost creation
nobler rose in thee!

Thus His place prepared,
he who all things made
‘mid his creatures tarried,
in thy bosom laid;
there His love He nourished,
warmth that gave increase
to the root whence flourished
our eternal peace.

Nor alone thou hearest
When thy name we hail;
Often thou art nearest
When our voices fail;
Mirrored in thy fashion
All creation’s gird,
Mercy, might compassion
Grace thy womanhood.

Lady, let our vision
Striving heavenward, fail,
Still let thy petition
With thy Son prevail,
Unto whom all merit,
prayer and majesty,
With the Holy Spirit
And the Father be.

Most authors agree that there were seven original ‘O Antiphons’ and that they are a very ancient expression of Christian Prayer. While their author is unknown, they are cited in at least two works as early as the eighth century. Both Cynewulf, an Anglo-Saxon author and Amalarius, a liturgist and the Archbishop of Trier (died 850), who was a student of the teacher St Alcuin, cite the existence of the ‘O Antiphons’ as early as the seventh/eighth century.

The ‘O Antiphons’ get their name from the fact that they all begin with the interjection ‘O’: O Sapientia (Wisdom); O Adonai (Lord); O Radix Jesse (Root of Jesse); O Clavis David (Key of David); O Oriens (Dawn of the East); O Rex Gentium (King of Gentiles); O Emmanuel.

While the original ‘O Antiphons’ numbered seven, over time a number of others were added to the liturgy of particular regions and sometimes for particular religious feast days which fell during Advent, or even in the liturgy of some medieval religious orders. Some medieval religious churches had as many as twelve O Antiphons which were sung in the Advent Liturgy leading up to Christmas Eve.

Among these, there was an important Marian ‘O Antiphon’ which appears in both the Gallican (France) and Sarum (England) liturgies. Although it is difficult to establish just when this antiphon was first introduced, it was certainly known in the Middle Ages.

This Marian Antiphon is still used today in the liturgy of the Norbertine Order. While the Latin Liturgy begins the O Antiphons on 17 December with ‘O Sapientia,’ and ends on 23 December with ‘O Emmanuel,’ the Liturgy of the Norbertine Order begins their O Antiphons on 16 December with ‘O Sapientia,’ and ends on 23 December with the beautiful Marian Antiphon ‘O Virgo Virginum.’

Author:

Passionate Catholic. Being Catholic is a way of life - a love affair both with God and Father, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, our most Blessed and Beloved Virgin Mother Mary and the Church. "Religion must be like the air we breathe..."- St John Bosco With the Saints, we "serve the Lord with one consent and serve the Lord with one pure language, not indeed to draw them forth from their secure dwelling-places, not superstitiously to honour them, or wilfully to rely on the, ... but silently to contemplate them for edification, thereby encouraging our faith, enlivening our patience..." Blessed John Henry Newman Prayer is what the world needs combined with the example of our lives which testify to the Light of Christ. This site will mainly concentrate on Daily Prayers, Novenas and the Memorials and Feast Days of our friends in Heaven, the Saints who went before us and the great blessings the Church provides in our Catholic Monthly Devotions. "For the saints are sent to us by God as so many sermons. We do not use them, it is they who move us and lead us, to where we had not expected to go.” Charles Cardinal Journet (1891-1975) This site adheres to the Catholic Church and all her teachings but rejects the Second Vatican Council as heretical and, therefore, all that followed it.

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