Wednesday, December 19, 2018

An Advent Litany

The week prior to Christmas Day has a special seasonal tradition of prayer called the O Antiphons. These short addresses to the Messiah, drawn from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, are said or sung before and after the Magnificat (the Song of Mary from Luke 1:46-55) each night, beginning on December 17th. These antiphons are the source for the verses in the well-known Advent hymn "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel."

These antiphons have been skillfully adapted for use as an Advent litany by the editors of the new edition of the St. Augustine's Prayer Book. This litany encourages one to praise the Messiah, to contemplate the nature of His reign, to intensify our focus of preparation in the final stage of Advent, and to intercede for the world. The prayers that follow explore various Advent themes and might be used on a rotating basis.

Let the final days of Advent make for a deeper contemplation of Our Lord's two comings, so we approach the Feast of the Nativity with a heart made ready, like the manger, to receive the Infant King.

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O Wisdom, proceeding from the Most High, reaching from one end to another, mightily and sweetly ordering all things: 
Come and teach us the way of understanding.

O Adonai and Leader of the House of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the burning bush and on Mount Sinai gave the Law: 
Come to deliver us with your strong arm.

O Root of Jesse, given as a sign for all peoples, in whose presence kings are silenced and before whom all nations will be judged: 
Come with the day of peace and do not delay.

O Key of David, who opens and none can shut, leading us to life everlasting: 
Come and lead out those bound in chains.

O Day Spring, the bright and morning star, the eternal light that enlightens all: 
Come and shine on those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death.

O King of the Nations, chosen and precious cornerstone, binding in one all peoples: 
Come quiet the strife that afflicts your children.

O Emmanuel, the promise and the fulfillment of all promises: 
Come and bring among us the joy of your kingdom.

Even so, Lord Jesus, quickly come. Amen.

Make us watchful and alert, O Lord our God, that when he comes, your Son Christ our Lord will not find us sleeping in sin or distracted with fears, but awake, strong in faith, active in service, and rejoicing in your praises, through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.Amen.

May Christ, whose second coming in power and great glory we await, X make us steadfast in faith, joyful in hope, and constant in love. Amen.

Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The year declines and our days draw to a close: let us, for it is time, amend our doings to the praise of Christ; let our lamps be burning, for the exalted Judge cometh to judge the nations. Amen.

Lord, you have set before us the great hope that your kingdom shall come on earth, and have taught us to pray for its coming; give us grace to discern the signs of its dawning, and to work for the perfect day when your will shall be done on earth as it is in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

From The St. Augustine’s Prayer Book,
Revised Edition

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