Sunday, December 18, 2011

Ero Cras

Graphic from Bethany Twins Blog
Before there was "LOL" and "OMG" and "BRB" there were anagrams and acrostics that had deep meaning (not to say that a well placed "LMAO" in a text isn't meaningful) in liturgical and theological circles.

The "O Antiphons" also possibly share in this conspiracy of symbols and signs. A few publications have written about the hidden message in the traditional chant. Take this article for example:

What a great treasure the liturgical tradition of the Roman Rite has left us in the O Antiphons of the Advent season. These are the very antiphons, still used in the current Liturgy of the Hours, which surround the Magnificat at Evening Prayer (Vespers) from December 17 - 23. They are seven titles for Christ, the Messiah, drawn from Hebrew Scripture, representing a "mosaic" of the Old Testament.

  • O Sapientia [Wisdom]
  • O Adonai [Lord]
  • O Radix Jesse [Root of Jesse]
  • O Clavis David [Key of David]
  • O Oriens [Dayspring]
  • O Rex gentium [King of the Nations]
  • O Emmanuel [God-with-Us]
C.J. McNaspy in the Paulist publication, New Catholic World, tells us:
Their themes are broadly messianic, stressing the brightness of hope. Jesus is invoked under a series of titles, drawn largely from Isaiah, but in a sequence that must be intentional. They move historically from the beginning, before creation, to the very gates of Bethlehem. It seems more than coincidental, too, that the titles given to Jesus make an acrostic in Latin, which when read backwards means: "I will be tomorrow" ("Ero Cras") -- an obvious (at least to the medieval mind) allusion to Christmas eve.

Pretty cool.