From our friends at the Spirit of St. Stephen’s Catholics Community, we offer the below.

The “O Antiphons,” one of the oldest liturgical rituals in the church, are prayed around the world during the final days of Advent.  For the seven days before Christmas, we recall in these prayers a quality of Christ that must be realized before the presence of Christ can consume the world. 

When you think of Jesus, for whom do you wait? 

December 17 –  O Wisdom     

O come, Thou Wisdom from on high, Who ord’rest all things mightily; 

To us the path of knowledge show, And teach us in her ways to go. 

Refrain: Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel! 

Wisdom: the ability to see the world as God sees it. Try reading the newspaper today through the eyes of a God who was born in a stable, counted to be of no account, hounded by society from one place to another.

  • Joan D. Chittister, OSB 

 O Wisdom, 

we live in your embrace, in vast night freckled with stars and hints of you 

that haunt our solitude, that writhe untamed in the work of every birth. 

 We spin with Earth, allemande our sun, turning toward light in the spill of stars 

holding and letting go, shining and imploding in invisible dance. 

 Mother womb of all becoming, in you stardust lives and breathes, slithers, trots, hops, runs, 

born of watery chaos and the mystery of trees making air of light. 

 You are the whole that lives in every part, the circle in which we dance, 

the relentless summons to communion in which we sleep and wake.  Joan Mitchell, CSJ 


O Wisdom, flowing from the mouth of the Most High; reaching far and wide,  

disposing of all things sweetly and mightily. Come teach us the way of prudence. 


December 18O Adonai     

O come, O come, Thou Lord of might, Who to thy tribes on Sinai’s height 

In ancient times didst give the law, In cloud and majesty and awe. 

Refrain: Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

When we build a vision of life it is necessary to realize that Jesus must be the center of it—not our institutions, good as they may be; not our plans or personal talents, necessary as they are. –

  • Joan D. Chittister, OSB 

 O Holy I AM, 

whose love unfolding causes all to be and become 

from the beginning, gravity attracting particles, forming molecules 

hydrogen, helium, baking the building blocks of life in the ovens of bursting stars 

from the irrepressible fire at Earth’s core, a mothering warmth bubbling in the deep, 

in the dark until bacteria give birth to life and move toward light 

the slowest of pregnancies from cell to spine, eye, wing 

 Earth lives, its greening the offspring of fire, a fierce unbridled oneness burns 

in the paradox of flame and leaf, a single sap birthing awe and law 

 From Moses in stone your call to covenant and community, 

From Earth in peril your call to care for love’s unfolding.   

  • Joan Mitchell, CSJ 

O Adonai, leader of the ancient Israel, giving Moses, while in the burning bush,  

the law on Sinai.  Come with outstretched arms and teach us. 


December 19O Flower of Jesse’s Stem     

O come, Thou rod of Jesse’s stem, From ev’ry foe deliver them 

That trust thy mighty pow’r to save, And give them vict’ry o’er the grave. 

Refrain: Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel! 

It takes generations to build the Christ vision in the world, just as it took generations after Jesse to prepare for the coming of the Christ. It is our task to root ideas now  that will bring the next generation to wholeness.  

  • Joan D. Chittister, OSB 

 O Root of Jesse, 

rose blooming of sleeping seeds, believers become story, 

a promise in womb and word, heard and hoped, 

heard and hoped again 

 memories twine, pregnant Spirit taking flesh, their stories do not sleep, 

the stump sprouts, green arms rising               

  • Joan Mitchell, CSJ 

O Root of Jesse, standing as protector of the people; silencing rulers, inspiring the people to make supplication. Come do not delay, deliver us. 


December 20O Key of David     

O come, Thou key of David come, And open wide our heav’nly home; 

Make safe the way that leads on high, And close the path of misery. 

Refrain: Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel! 

We are called to the kind of Christian commitment that opens doors and breaks down barriers between people, that brings unity to a divided world. Try to unlock one door that is keeping someone locked out of your heart.   

  • Joan D. Chittister, OSB 

 O Key of David 

O Key of David, 

the outpouring heart, the open gate, release afoot where privilege and shadow intersect 

 the choice is ours now to grasp the lost, the least 

to pour our lives into one another 

 white sheep graze green pastures where reviving waters flow, 

the cross sprouts, and hope is golden 

the fiery heart reveals abounding life 

and a shepherd’s hand that will not let go       

  • Joan Mitchell, CSJ 

O Key of David, rod and staff of the house of Israel, one who opens and no one closes, the one who closes and no one opens.  Come lead prisoners caught in darkness. 


December 21O Radiant Dawn     

O come, Thou Dayspring from on high, And cheer us by thy drawing nigh; 

Disperse the gloomy clouds of night, And death’s dark shadow put to flight. 

Refrain: Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel 

The celebration of the God of Growth in our lives—those moments of insight in which life comes newly alive in me—helps us to recognize those moments of insight in which life comes newly alive and I begin to see differently, to live differently, to function differently. A new friend, a new work, a new idea are all “radiant dawns” in life that can enable me to become more than I ever dreamed I could.       

  • Joan D. Chittister, OSB 

 O Dayspring, 

with resilient resolve to break open the sky again 

to rise with the sun and walk again, to clean and clear the encircling soot 

of our heedless ways 

we the problem, we the answer, we of small choices that all matter most 

 spring rises in the choice to plant again 

to hold sacred the promise in seeds, to turn the wasteland green 

to drink deep of aquifers unbottled to open our hearts 

more than our own kind, to every kind, otherkind 

binding our enduring loves with those to come 

 shine on the shadowed restore us to joy and play 

who keep faith that your gifts and ours 

can sustain the common good       

  • Joan Mitchell, CSJ 

O Dayspring, Sun of Justice, bright eternal light, one who shows the way, the one who sets us free even in darkness and death. Come, disperse the gloomy clouds of night. 


December 22O God of All the Earth   

O come, Desire of nations, bind in one the hearts of all humankind; 

Bid Thou our sad divisions cease, And be thyself our Source of Peace. 

Refrain: Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel! 

We are not the beginning and the end of the universe.  We are part of a vision of humankind, seen in Jesus, and yet to be achieved in us, a vision of global sharing, universal peace and individual security.     

  • Joan D. Chittister, OSB 

 O Source, 

life of all peoples, sacred heartbeat of the cosmos, 

keystone that unites us, arms that encircle us,  

come, awaken, stir us who evolve of stardust and holy breath 

 to weave wider and stronger the web of life and love 

your incarnation calls us, Earth and its creatures 

to be.  

  • Joan Mitchell, CSJ 


O Ruler of Nations, cornerstone of the people, desire of all; from the clay of the earth, by your own hand you have formed us and fashioned us.  

Come and open our hearts to one another. 


December 23O Emanuel    

O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel, 

That mourns in lonely exile here, Until the Son of God appear. 

Refrain: Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel! 

Jesus Emmanuel has already come.  It is not a matter now of Christ’s being where we are; it is a matter of our being in the consciousness of where Christ is in life and where He is not as well. Where is Christ for you? Is there a place in your life that you know down deep is not in the spirit of Christ at all?     Joan D. Chittister, OSB 

O Emmanuel, 

born of a bang so pregnant, so big it unfolds still 

in the infinity of stars, in the diversity of flowers and the purpose of bees 

and all their winged, finned, and multi-legged kin, 

in entangled particles free to dance to their own beat 

 scientists imagine the beginning flamed forth in every direction 

like the neurons in our heads with dendrites reaching out 

on this side and that 

making gaps between outside and inside where imagination lives 

and where in each synapse energy arcs into consciousness, 

a circuitry ultimately for love 

 every birth like the Big Birth 

holds the mystery of becoming more        

  • Joan Mitchell, CSJ 

O Emmanuel, leader and desire of all the nations, you set captives free, comfort those 
who are lonely; you feed the those who are poor and all who are hungry.  

Come be born in us, God of Life.  


December 17th, 2021