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Third Week of Advent 

Great O' Antiphons

Advent Tradition of O' Antiphons 


Beginning on Dec 17 of Advent to Dec 23, a special prayer is said at vespers, or evening prayers, right before the Magnificat. They are called the Great O' Antiphons.


If you know the song O' Come, O' Come Emmanuel, then you have heard many of the words from the O' Antiphons. They are based on the prophetic names given to the Messiah from the prophet Isaiah. 


The first video below is a fantastic introduction to help you understand the history and beauty of these prayers. 


The second video is all seven O' Antiphons sung in English. With a YouTube search, you can find many more beautiful renditions in Latin and English. 

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The "O Antiphons" of Advent

The Roman Church has been singing the "O" Antiphons since at least the eighth century. They are the antiphons that accompany the Magnificat canticle of Evening Prayer from December 17-23. They are a magnificent theology that uses ancient biblical imagery drawn from the messianic hopes of the Old Testament to proclaim the coming Christ as the fulfillment not only of Old Testament hopes, but present ones as well. Their repeated use of the imperative "Come!" embodies the longing of all for the Divine Messiah.

December 17
O Wisdom of our God Most High,
guiding creation with power and love:
come to teach us the path of knowledge!


December 18
O Leader of the House of Israel,
giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai:
come to rescue us with your mighty power!


December 19
O Root of Jesse’s stem,
sign of God’s love for all his people:
come to save us without delay!


December 20
O Key of David,
opening the gates of God’s eternal Kingdom:
come and free the prisoners of darkness!


December 21
O Radiant Dawn,
splendor of eternal light, sun of justice:
come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the
shadow of death.

December 22
O King of all nations and keystone of the Church:
come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!


December 23
O Emmanuel, our King and Giver of Law:
come to save us, Lord our God!

—From Catholic Household Blessings & Prayers

Second Week of Advent 

Greccio or Creche

Advent Tradition of the Creche

If you have not yet heard, this is the 800th year celebration of a Christmas at Greccio. Below is an excerpt from A Multifaceted Centenary in Which Several Centenaries Will Be Celebrated. 


After the video you will find:

  • A long list of objectives and activities. Chose one, two, or more to do during Advent, Christmas, and all year long.

  • A link for last week's reflection if you missed it. 

  • A link for other ways to celebrate Advent and Christmas.

As always, we would love to hear your thoughts on the reflections. Just reply to this email. I will even write you back! 

1 Celano 84-87, FF 466-471; Admonitions I, 16-21, FF 144; Letter to the Entire Order 26: 29, FF 221; Office of the Passion XV, FF 303.

When Thomas of Celano presents the story of the celebration of Christmas at Greccio, he talks about the reasons Francis of Assisi had for to setting up the manger and celebrating the Mass in a cave. The Poverello stopped at Greccio because he wanted to contemplate the realness of the Incarnation, namely, the simplicity, poverty and humility of the Son of God “who gave Himself for us with supreme and
indescribable love” (1 Celano 30: 87, FF 471). We find the same dynamic in his contemplation of the Eucharist. In fact, Francis invites us not only to see with our physical eyes but with our spiritual eyes as well, so that we might contemplate the humility and the real manifestation of divine love present in the Eucharist: “Behold, each day He humbles Himself as when He came from the royal throne into the Virgin’s womb; each day He Himself comes to us, appearing humbly; each day He comes down from the bosom of the Father upon the altar in the hands of a priest” (Admonitions I, 16-18, FF 144).

As the Franciscan Family celebrating the centenary of the Christmas at Greccio, we are invited to pause before the mystery of the Incarnation in order to contemplate the depth of God’s love for humanity. The Son of God becomes the Son of man; he becomes one of us, our brother (cf. Second Version of the Letter to the Faithful 56,
FF 201). Our faith in the Incarnation prompts us to discover the seeds of the Word present in all cultures and in contemporary society, so that we might bring to bloom the seeds of humanity we find there. Moreover, it urges us not only to defend life but also to become instruments of life and humanity in our families and fraternities, reaching out to those who are seen as social rejects, who are no longer considered
human. The concrete way that Francis of Assisi celebrated the mystery of the Incarnation at Greccio, invites us to more fully realize “that we have been entrusted with a treasure which makes us more human and helps us to lead a new life. There is nothing more precious which we can give to others” (Evangelii gaudium 264).


On Christmas day, the Poverello, together with his brothers, prayed: “This is the day the Lord has made let us rejoice and be glad in it. For the Most Holy Child has been given to us and has been born for us on the way and placed in a manger because he did not have a place in the inn” (Office of the Passion XV, 5-7, FF 303). As we celebrate the centenary of the manger at Greccio, we are invited to think about the place that Jesus occupies in our hearts, and even more, whether we have a place in our hearts for those with whom Jesus wanted to be identified: “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me” (Mt 25:40). By his Incarnation, Christ Jesus eliminated any distance that separated him from humanity. He calls us to do the same, that is, to be close to our brothers and sisters to welcome them, to touch them with mercy, as the Magisterium of the Church reminds us: “With the simplicity of that sign, Saint Francis carried out a great work of evangelization... In a particular way, from the time of its Franciscan origins, the nativity scene has invited us to ‘feel’ and ‘touch’ the poverty that God’s Son took upon himself in the Incarnation. Implicitly, it summons us to follow him along the path of humility, poverty and self-denial that leads from the manger of Bethlehem to the cross. It asks us to meet him and serve him by showing mercy to those of our brothers and sisters in greatest need” (Admirabile signum 3).

Our being in Christ

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son” (Jn 3:16).

To renew our life of faith so that it can become more incarnational and concrete.
• Raise our awareness of daily life, with all its joys and difficulties, as a privileged place of encounter with the Lord.
• Ensure that adequate importance is placed on the liturgical and sacramental life, in order to progress in the life of faith.
• Reexamine how we celebrate Christmas and other liturgical feasts, ensuring they reflect the simplicity, poverty and humility that Francis of Assisi desired.


Our being brothers and sisters

“Consider, O human being, in what great excellence the Lord God has placed you, for He created and formed you to the image of His beloved Son according to the body and to His likeness according to the Spirit” (Admonitions V, 1, FF 153).

To develop a more comprehensive view of humankind and its inherent male-female reciprocity, a view that is free of divisions and dichotomies.

• Ensure that the formation programs in our fraternities implement a formation process that is more comprehensive from a human, spiritual and interpersonal point of view.
• Encourage concrete initiatives that work toward overcoming discord between men and women or between the laity and priests or consecrated persons.


Our being in communion

“Hail, O Lady, Holy Queen, Mary, holy Mother of God, Who are the Virgin made Church” (Salutation of the Blessed Virgin Mary 1, FF 259).

To live in minority as members of the Church.

• Confirm whether our pastoral service in ecclesial communities reflects the maternal dimension of the Church and is characterized by humility and poverty, which are revealed in the Incarnation and in the Eucharist.
• Reexamine our way of celebrating the Eucharist, so that it may be authentically experienced as the source and summit of Christian life and a source of communion and fraternity.
• Bring the motherly compassion of the Church to our brothers and sisters who find themselves on the existential outskirts of our ecclesial communities.


Our being in the world

“God said: ‘Let us make human beings in our image, after our likeness’” (Gn 1, 26).
To love and serve every human being, promoting his or her dignity as a person created by God and made in his likeness and image.
• Set aside time for reflection and discussion on promoting the dignity of every human life and make a commitment to defend life from conception until natural death.
• Promote activities to defend the rights of women.
• Offer help to parents who are finding it difficult to raise and educate their children.
• Provide assistance to shelters for orphaned children, street children, young people suffering from any kind of addiction, etc.

First Week of Advent 

Jesse Tree

Advent Tradition of the Jesse Tree

Advent is here! If you are like me, we can get so caught up in the hubbub of "getting ready" for Christmas day that we completely miss Advent! This year I am challenging myself to slow the pace down and focus on the season of Advent before jumping into Christmas. I am working to differentiate these two special seasons so I can enjoy what is unique to both. I invite you to join me.

I love decorating for Christmas the weekend after Thanksgiving. The tree goes up and all the stuff comes out. This year, I'm trying something different. I put my tree up and got out all the Advent decorations. The tree is decorated with purple ornaments and I added the Jesse tree ornaments that I have. Each week during Advent I will add a little more of my Christmas decorations. Just before Christmas Eve, I will switch out the purple for all the other ornaments. Hopefully an activity I can do while my son is here visiting!

Below Joe Paprocki explains what a Jesse Tree is and how we can practice this in our homes. He specifically talks about a family with children. However! All us adults can also read each of the Bible stories too. We can read them as a Lectio Divina. We can add ornaments or not. This is a devotion for Advent that anyone of any age can participate in. 


What do you think? Ready to join me? 


Please share your comments and experiences with us. We would love to hear if this devotion is meaningful for you or if you are going to do this with family and

What do you think? Ready to join me? 


Please share your comments and experiences with us. We would love to hear if this devotion is meaningful for you or if you are going to do this with family and friends. 


Jesse Tree daily readings 

This is one list. You can find many more with an internet search.


How to pray with Lectio Divina


Dec 1 - Adam and Eve - Genesis 3:1-24

Dec 2 - Noah - Genesis 6:11 to 9:17

Dec 3 - Abraham and Sarah - Genesis 12:1-7 and 15:1-6

Dec 4 - Isaac - Genesis 22:1-19

Dec 5 - Rebecca - Genesis 25:19-34 and 27

Dec 6 - Jacob - Genesis 28:10-22

Dec 7 - Joseph - Genesis 37:1-45:28

Dec 8 - Moses - Exodus 3:1-15 or Exodus 20:1-21

Dec 9 - Rahab - Joshua 2:1-21

Dec 10 - Joshua - Joshua 6:1-20

Dec 11 - Deborah - Judges 4:1-16

Dec 12 - Sampson - Judges 13:1-5; 15:14-17

Dec 13 - Ruth - chapters 1-4

Dec 14 - Hannah - 1 Samuel 1:1-20, 24-28; 2:18-20

Dec 15 - Samuel - 1 Samuel 3:1-19; 16:1-13

Dec 16 - David - 1 Samuel 16:1-16

Dec 17 - Solomon - 1 Kings 3:4-15

Dec 18 - Elijah - 1 Kings 19:3-13; 2 Kings 2:1-5, 9-13

Dec 19 - Isaiah - Isaiah 9:1-6 and 11:1-9

Dec 20 - Esther - Esther 2:17-18; 3:8-15; 4:7-16;7:10

Dec 21 - Daniel - Daniel 1:1-4; 6:1-28; 7:13-14

Dec 22 - Elizabeth - Luke 1:5-25

Dec 23 - John the Baptist Luke 1:57-80

Dec 24 - Mary - Luke 1:26-56 and Luke 2:1-14

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