The Church has invoked the titles of Christ in the O Antiphons for at least 1,300 years. These seven ancient prayers have been prayed by over millions of Christians. The medieval monasteries used to ring their largest bell as the choirs of monks intoned Mary’s Magnificat and these Advent antiphons. They are invoking Christ in seven messianic titles.
They are seven heart cries for Jesus to come anew in our life. Each one of them is preparing us to invite the Christ child more completely in this blessed season.
Like a final crescendo, these O Antiphons are intoned during Evening Prayer on the seven days leading up to Christmas Eve, from December 17 to December 23. Each night they form luminous bookends around Our Lady’s Magnificat, like seven prayers she prayed during her week-long journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. All seven are in the oracles of the Old Testament prophet Isaiah, who gives us many memorable images of the Messiah. They are rich meditations on the One who is to come.
Although there are seven titles in the O Antiphons, only one has remained firmly in popular Christian culture, thanks to an Advent hymn: "O Come, O Come Emmanuel". This messianic title is the final of the O Antiphons. The seven titles prayed on each day are:
"Looking at little life moments with a spiritual eye."