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Vicar's Musings for Advent 3

17 December, 2017

This year's Advent study text, that many of us are reading, is Malcolm Guite's Waiting on the Word: a poem a day for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany (Norwich: Canterbury Press, 2015). Carol O'Connor, our Bookroom Manager, is a poet herself and has been leading two study groups on Sundays and Wednesdays, helping us reflect on this moving collection of poems. Carol's last session is today, after High Mass — do come if you can!

A central theme for Guite's chosen poems over the coming week are the "O Antiphons". It is traditional from 17th to 23rd December, at the evening prayer of Vespers each day, to recite the seven special prayers. The early Church would pray each day one of these Advent prayers, calling on the Messiah to come (in Latin: veni), addressing Christ by seven mysterious divine titles found in the Old Testament: O Wisdom! (sapientia); O Lord! (adonai); O Root of Jesse! (radix); O Key of David! (clavis); O Dayspring! (oriens); O King of Nations! (Rex gentium); O God-with-us! (Emmanuel).

Today, as the end of the day approaches, I encourage you to pause for prayer. Wherever you are, go to a quiet place by yourself, or in prayer with others, and pray this prayer below. If you have a Prayer Book handy you may wish to pray the Office of Evening Prayer; before and after the Magnificat insert this ancient antiphon. Or just repeat the antiphon into the silence of the evening:

O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High,
Reaching from one end to the other mightily,
And sweetly ordering all things:
Come and teach us the way of prudence.

The Rev'd Dr Hugh Kempster

Illustration for Advent 3 Musings

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