December 16: Annunciation

[camel] During Advent, the Roman Catholic liturgy reminds us repeatedly of the message of Gabriel to our Lady: "The angel Gabriel said to Mary in greeting: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women" (Antiphon at midday prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours), and prays each day: "Loving Mother of the Redeemer, who received Gabriel's joyful greeting; have pity on us poor sinners" (Final Antiphon from the Liturgy of the Hours, antiphon for Advent )

The consent of our Lady, which in God's good pleasure preceded the incarnation, is of the greatest importance in the story of salvation, for the incarnation of the Word initiates the restoration of human nature.

The Roman liturgy recalls this sacrament of our salvation, not only on the solemnity of the Annunciation on March 25 but also, as the Nativity of the Lord approaches, on December 20 and particularly on the Fourth Sunday of Advent in the calendar Year B. The celebration of this mystery fits in admirably with the character and nature of the Advent season. We invite you to pray with the Church the following prayer from the seasonal Mass, The Blessed Virgin Mary and the Annunciation of the Lord:

December 17: Visitation

[pitcher] It is appropriate to celebrate the Mass of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary during Advent when a memorial of the Mother of the Lord is to be celebrated. Our Lady in visiting her kinswoman Elizabeth is an image of the mystery of salvation, in which God "has come to his people and set them free" (Entrance Antiphon, Luke 1:68). Mary is also the model for the Church, which God nourishes with his gifts and on which he pours out his Holy Spirit as it brings the message of joy to the whole world so that all peoples may "acknowledge Christ as their Savior."

In this Mass Mary is honored as:

We invite you to pray with the Church the following prayer from the seasonal Mass, The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary:

servant[] O Antiphon I: Jesus Is Wisdom

Among the many Christian customs in anticipation of Christmas, there is one prayer that has come down to us from the Middle Ages called O Antiphons. The earliest manuscript with the seven O Antiphons is found in the eleventh century. Beginning on the eve of December 18, the monks would chant a different O Antiphon each evening for seven days. Each antiphon addressed Jesus by a title from the First Testament in anticipation of redemption. The prayers are called O Antiphons because they begin with the exclamation "O" when addressing the Lord. They are sung before the Canticle of Mary.

O Wisdom

O Wisdom, O holy Word of God,
you govern all creation with your strong yet tender care.
Come and show your people the way to salvation.
Based on Wisdom 9:17-18.


O Antiphon II: Jesus Is Lord of Lords

[black king] O Lord of Lords

O sacred Lord of ancient Israel,
who showed yourself to Moses in the burning bush,
who gave him the holy law on Sinai mountain,
come, stretch out your mighty hand to set us free.
Based on Psalms 59:6, 103:7.


O Antiphon III: Jesus Is Root of Jesse

[turquoise king] O Root of Jesse

O Flower of Jesse's stem,
you have been raised up as a sign for all peoples;
kings stand silent in your presence;
the nations bow down in worship before you.
Come, let nothing keep you from coming to our aid.
Based on Isaiah 11:10.



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