The seven great “O Antiphons” are sung before and after the Magnificat (Mary’s Song) at the Divine Office of Vespers (the church’s evening prayer) beginning on December 17. They bid our Lord “Come!” using seven different prophetic Names for the promised Messiah:
- Wisdom (Sapienta) Isaiah 11.2-3; Proverbs 8.12; 9.1;1 Corinthians 1.24
- Lord (Adonai) Isaiah 2.5; 9.6-7
- Root (Radix) of Jesse Isaiah 11.1,10
- Key (Clavis) of David Isaiah 9.6; 22.22
- Rising Sun (Oriens) Isaiah 9.1; 59.19
- King of Nations (Rex Gentium) Isaiah 2.4; 9.6-7
- Emmanuel Isaiah 7.14.
Benedictine monks of the seventh century arranged the antiphons so that the first letter of each in reverse order spells ERO CRAS (Latin: “Tomorrow I will come”).