The 'O Antiphons' (an antiphon is a spoken response in a church service) have been used in liturgical Christian traditions since as far back as the sixth century. They are spoken before reading the Magnificat at Evening Prayer during the last seven days of Advent.

Here is a list of them - you can see that they comprise different ways of addressing Jesus.

O Sapientia – O Wisdom – 17th December
O Adonai – O Lord – 18th December (Adonai is actually plural - O Lords)
O Radix Jesse – O Root of Jesse – 19th December
O Clavis David – O Key of David – 20th December
O Oriens – O Sunrise – 21st December
O Rex Gentium – O Sovereign of the nations – 22nd December
O Emmanuel – O Emmanuel - 23rd December (where Emmanuel means 'God with us')

During these seven days I will be posting a poetic reflection each day courtesy of Malcolm Guite.

Here is his contribution for 17th December.

O Sapientia

O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti, attingens a fine usque ad finem, fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia:
veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.

image from Cochem Castle, Germany    © not advert
O Sapientia: image from Cochem Castle, Germany MATTHIAS BUEHLER

O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High,
reaching from one end to the other mightily,
and sweetly ordering all things:
Come and teach us the way of prudence.

I cannot think unless I have been thought,
Nor can I speak unless I have been spoken.
I cannot teach except as I am taught,
Or break the bread except as I am broken.
O Mind behind the mind through which I seek,
O Light within the light by which I see,

O Word beneath the words with which I speak,
O founding, unfound Wisdom, finding me,
O sounding Song whose depth is sounding me,
O Memory of time, reminding me,
My Ground of Being, always grounding me,

My Maker’s Bounding Line, defining me,
Come, hidden Wisdom, come with all you bring,
Come to me now, disguised as everything.

Thank you, Malcolm, for allowing me to use your work.