My Dear Brethren,
The following and last of the Great O Antiphons is an Anglican addition found in Sarum use. It differs from the others in that it is not a prayer nor does it highlight an Old Covenant referent to the Messiah. We are taken back to the beginning of the fulfillment of all the promises uttered in prayer so far in these meditations on the coming Messiah – His conception in Mary’s womb and the utter mystery of it all. The Antiphon is an imagined conversation: The Church speaks to Mary in wonderment, and she responds appropriately. And now, nothing is left for us but to wait patiently today and tomorrow on the Eve of Christ’s Nativity for the joyful arrival by birth of Jesus (YHWH is salvation), the Christ (the Anointed), the Lord.
23 December – O Virgo virginum (O Virgin of Virgins)
O Virgin of virgins, how shall this be? For neither was there any like thee before thee, nor shall there be after:
Daughters of Jerusalem, why marvel at me? The thing which ye behold is a divine mystery.
O glorious Virgin, Salem quakes.
What news is this that Gabriel breaks?
Behold, the sacred mystery:
For God himself takes flesh in thee.1
26In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 28And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 29But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
34And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
35And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy— the Son of God. 36And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.