Today’s antiphon, recited on December 17th, is called “O Sapientia”.

                                 O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti,
        attingens a fine usque ad finem,
        fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia:
       veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.

Oh wisdom, who out of the mouth of the Most High comes,
reaching from this end to the end,
mightily and sweetly ordering all things:
come and teach our ways of prudence

 Many of the references in all seven “O Antiphons” are taken from the book of Isaiah. But do realize many of these are part of the Roman Catholic liturgy and hence will also reference the deuterocanonical books or apocrypha.  Hence I will start with the Roman Catholic references and interpretation. As we go along on this journey, you will see that the Protestant references are a little bit more difficult, which is not surprising given the old history of these chants dating as far back as at least the 8th century.

 Roman Catholic interpretation and references:

 “Oh Wisdom”, who comes out of the mouth of the Most High: Sirach 24:3
Reaching from end to end and ordering all things: Wisdom 8:1
Come and teach us the way of prudence: Isaiah 40:14

Protestant interpretation and references:

There are less clear line-ups with each line of the antiphon, but Isaiah clearly prophecies the coming of Christ and how God’s wisdom would rest upon Him.

And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him,
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
Isaiah 11:2 – ESV


This also comes from the Lord of hosts;
he is wonderful in counsel
and excellent in wisdom
Isaiah 28:29 – ESV

Considering this is the first Oh Antiphon, recited 7 days before Christmas, we go back to the Word of God which spoke the creation into existence. As we look forward to the coming of Christ, we are imploring God to fulfill the prophecies and send us His Son filled with His wisdom to teach us our ways.

Ackowledgements and for more information:
Fr, William Saunders, What are the “O Antiphons”
Catholic Culture: The O Antiphons
The Crossroads Initiative: The great “O Antiphons of Advent”

Image courtesy of Catholic Culture