The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

O Wisdom That Comest Out of the Mouth of the Most High

For Advent

Words: Veni, Veni, Emanuel (the "O" Antiphons),
Authorship Unknown, 8th Century Latin;
Published As A Hymn in Psalteriolum Cantionum Catholicarum, 7th Edition, Köln, 1710.

Translator: Unknown

Music: "Veni Emmanuel," Based on a 15th Century French Processional,
Arranged by Rev. Thomas Helmore  and harmonized by Rev. S. S. Greatheed in
Hymnal Noted, Part II (London: 1856)
and

Accompanying Harmonies to the Hymnal Noted-Part II
(London: 1858)
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF / XML
Melody Only: MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF / XML

Meter: 88 88 88

See: Notes on Veni, Veni, Emmanuel

Source: John, Marquess of Bute, K.T., The Roman Breviary. Volume 1 (Winter) of 4. (Edinburgh: William Blackwood and Sons, 1879, 1908), “Proper Office of the Season, Advent,” pp. 243-244. Note that the Preface to the First Edition was dated June 27, 1879.

1. O Sapientia. December 17.

O Wisdom,1 That comest out of the mouth of the Most High,2 That reachest from one end to another, and dost mightily and sweetly order all things: come, to teach us the way of prudence!

1. Ecclesiasticus 24:5 “I came out of the mouth of the most High, the firstborn before all creatures” 

2. Wisdom 8:1. “She [Wisdom] reacheth therefore from end to end mightily, and ordereth all things sweetly.” 

2. O Adonai. December 18.

O Adonai,3 and Ruler of the house of Israel, Who didst appear unto Moses in the burning bush, and gavest him the law in Sinai: come, to redeem us with an outstretched arm!

3. I.e., Lord. This is the Hebrew word which the Jews substitute for any endeavour to pronounce the Name.

3. O Radix Jesse. December 19.

O Root of Jesse,4 Which standest for an ensign of the people,5 at Whom the Kings shall shut their mouths,4 unto Whom the Gentiles shall seek: come, to deliver us, make no tarrying!

4. Isaiah 11:10. “ In that day the root of Jesse, who standeth for an ensign of the people, him the Gentiles shall beseech, and his sepulchre shall be glorious.”;
Also Isaiah 11:1. And there shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise up out of his root.

5. Isaiah 52:15. “He shall sprinkle many nations, kings shall shut their mouth at him: for they to whom it was not told of him, have seen: and they that heard not, have beheld.”

4. O Clavis David. December 20.

O Key of David,6 and Sceptre of the house of Israel; That openest, and no man shutteth; and shuttest and no man openeth: come,7 to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death!

6. Apoc. 3:7. “And to the angel of the church of Philadelphia, write: These things saith the Holy One and the true one, he that hath the key of David; he that openeth, and no man shutteth; shutteth, and no man openeth:”  

7. Isaiah 43:7. “And every one that calleth upon my name, I have created him for my glory, I have formed him, and made him.”  

5. O Oriens. December 21.

O Day-Spring,8 Brightness9 of the everlasting Light. Sun of Righteousness,10 come to give light to them that sit in darkness,8 and in the shadow of death!

8. Luke 1:78-79.  “Through the bowels of the mercy of our God, in which the Orient from on high hath visited us: To enlighten them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death: to direct our feet into the way of peace.” 

9. Wisdom 7:26. “For she [Wisdom] is the brightness of eternal light, and the unspotted mirror of God's majesty, and the image of his goodness.”

10. Malachias 4:2. “But unto you that fear my name, the Sun of justice shall arise, and health in his wings: and you shall go forth, and shall leap like calves of the herd.”

6. O Rex Gentium. December 22.

O King of the Gentiles, yea, and Desire thereof,11 O Cornerstone12 that makest of twain one: come, to save man, whom Thou hast made out of the dust of the earth!

11. Haggai 2:8. “And I will move all nations: AND THE DESIRED OF ALL NATIONS SHALL COME: and I will fill this house with glory: saith the Lord of hosts.” 

12. Ephesians 2:14, 20. 14: “For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and breaking down the middle wall of partition, the enmities in his flesh:” 20: “Built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone:”

7. O Emmanuel. December 23.

O Emmanuel, our King and our Law-giver, Longing of the Gentiles,13 yea, and Salvation thereof: come to save us, O Lord our God!

13. Genesis 49:10. “The sceptre shall not be taken away from Juda, nor a ruler from his thigh, till he come that is to be sent, and he shall be the expectation of nations.”

Note from John, Marquess of Bute

The Seven Days preceding Christmas Eve are marked by the Church with two observances; 1st, The series of Antiphons called the Great O's, and 2nd, by a special series of Antiphons at Lauds. The rules which apply to them are different.

1. The Great O's.

The Great O's are a series of Antiphons at the Song of the Blessed Virgin, one for every evening from Dec. 17 to 23, inclusive. They supplant any other Antiphon of the Office of the Season, (as, for instance, if the 17th Dec. should be the Third Sunday of Advent, the Antiphon, “Blessed art thou” is displaced for “O Wisdom.”) The Great O's however, can be supplanted by Feasts, (as, for instance,” “O Wisdom” and “O Adonai” by the Feast of Expectation, and “O Day-Spring,” by the Feast of St. Thomas,) and then they are treated as the Antiphon for the Week-day, forming part of the Commemoration. They are always said entire both before and after the Canticle, like the Antiphon on Double Feasts.

Note: All scriptural quotations are from the Douay Rheims Bible, (http://www.drbo.org/)

Also found in A Manual of Prayers (New York: P. J. Kennedy & Sons, 1888, 1916, 1930), pp. 634-635.

Footnotes

1. Ecclesiasticus 24:5 “I came out of the mouth of the most High, the firstborn before all creatures”  - Douay Rheims Bible

2. Wisdom 8:1. “She [Wisdom] reacheth therefore from end to end mightily, and ordereth all things sweetly.” 

3. I.e., Lord. This is the Hebrew word which the Jews substitute for any endeavour to pronounce the Name.

4. Isaiah 11:10. “ In that day the root of Jesse, who standeth for an ensign of the people, him the Gentiles shall beseech, and his sepulchre shall be glorious.”

5. Isa. Lii. 15 – Isaiah 52:15. “He shall sprinkle many nations, kings shall shut their mouth at him: for they to whom it was not told of him, have seen: and they that heard not, have beheld.”

6. Apocalypse [Revelation]. 3:7. “And to the angel of the church of Philadelphia, write: These things saith the Holy One and the true one, he that hath the key of David; he that openeth, and no man shutteth; shutteth, and no man openeth:”  

7. Isaiah 43:7. “And every one that calleth upon my name, I have created him for my glory, I have formed him, and made him.”  

8. Luke 1:78-79.  “Through the bowels of the mercy of our God, in which the Orient from on high hath visited us: To enlighten them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death: to direct our feet into the way of peace.” 

9. Wisdom 7:26. “For she [Wisdom] is the brightness of eternal light, and the unspotted mirror of God's majesty, and the image of his goodness.”

10. Malachias 4:2. “But unto you that fear my name, the Sun of justice shall arise, and health in his wings: and you shall go forth, and shall leap like calves of the herd.”

11. Haggai 2:8. “And I will move all nations: AND THE DESIRED OF ALL NATIONS SHALL COME: and I will fill this house with glory: saith the Lord of hosts.” 

12. Ephesians 2:14, 20. 14: “For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and breaking down the middle wall of partition, the enmities in his flesh:” 20: “Built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone:”

13. Genesis 49:10. “The sceptre shall not be taken away from Juda, nor a ruler from his thigh, till he come that is to be sent, and he shall be the expectation of nations.”

In addition to Isaiah 11:10, there is:

Isaiah 11:1. And there shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise up out of his root.

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