Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Novena

December 17 is the first day of the Christmas Novena. Each member of the community takes a Day of Recollection (Retreat Day) during the nine days before Christmas. On the night before his Day of Recollection, the community processes to his cell, with lighted candles, singing "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" and the Prior presents him with a statue of the infant Jesus.

Every evening during the Christmas novena the "O" Antiphons are sung at Vespers. These antiphons address Christ with seven Messianic titles, based on the Old Testament prophecies and types of Christ.

"O" Antiphon for December 17
O Wisdom (in latin: O Sapientia) (Eccl 24: 5), you came forth from the mouth of the Most High (Sir 24: 30), and reaching from beginning to end, you ordered all things mightily and sweetly (Wis 8: 1). Come, and teach us the way of prudence (Isa 40: 14).