O Emmanuel; a final antiphon and a hidden message


In my Advent Anthology from Canterbury Press Waiting on the Word,we come to the last of the Seven Great O Antiphons, which was sung on either side of the Magnificat on Christmas Eve, O Emmanuel, O God with us. This is the antiphon from which our lovely Advent hymn takes its name. It was also this final antiphon which revealed the secret message embedded subtly into the whole antiphon sequence. In each of these antiohons we have been calling on Him to come to us, to come as Light as Key, as King, as God-with-us. Now, standing on the brink of Christmas Eve, looking back at the illuminated capital letters for each of the seven titles of Christ we would see an answer to our pleas : ERO CRAS the latin words meaning ‘Tomorrow I will come!”

O Emmanuel

O Rex

O Oriens

O Clavis

O Radix

O Adonai

O Sapientia

I have also tried in my final sonnet to look back across the other titles of Christ, but also to look forward, beyond Christmas, to the new birth for humanity and for the whole cosmos, which is promised in the birth of God in our midst.

You can hear me read this poem by clicking on the title or the play button. the image above was created by Lancia Smith. you can see this and more on her  excellent Website Cultivating the True the Good and the Beautiful.. You can find you can find the words, and a short reflective essay on this poem in Waiting on the Word, which is now also available on Kindle

O Emmanuel, Rex et legifer noster,
exspectatio Gentium, et Salvator earum:
veni ad salvandum nos, Domine, Deus nosterO Emmanuel, our king and our lawgiver,
the hope of the nations and their Saviour:
Come and save us, O Lord our God

O come, O come, and be our God-with-us
O long-sought With-ness for a world without,
O secret seed, O hidden spring of light.
Come to us Wisdom, come unspoken Name
Come Root, and Key, and King, and holy Flame,
O quickened little wick so tightly curled,
Be folded with us into time and place,
Unfold for us the mystery of grace
And make a womb of all this wounded world.
O heart of heaven beating in the earth,
O tiny hope within our hopelessness
Come to be born, to bear us to our birth,
To touch a dying world with new-made hands
And make these rags of time our swaddling bands.

5 Comments

Filed under christianity, Meditation, Poems

5 responses to “O Emmanuel; a final antiphon and a hidden message

  1. Rita banfield

    Very many thanks for this inspiring Advent journey.I wish you every blessing this joyful Christmastide a time to renew your strength and rest in the Saviours love. Rita Banfield

  2. Ian McPherson

    Thank you, Malcolm. All the poems and commentaries are wonderful, as are the photos. Your own Advent sonnets came new to me. I’d like to say ‘Welcome, all wonders in one sight’ (Richard Crashaw). Your sonnets also connect powerfully with two magnificent books I have recently come to know: Katherine Sonderegger’s ‘The Doctrine of God’ and Stephen Mulhall’s ‘The Great Riddle: Wittgenstein and Nonsense, Theology and Philosophy’. If you don’t know them, they can be sampled via Amazon.
    Cheers
    Ian McPherson

  3. Pingback: Advent Diary – 23rd December 2015 | twiff13

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