Today’s O Antiphon

Tree of JesseToday the antiphon at Vespers for the Magnificat is “O Radix Iesse… O Root of Jesse”.

The Latin versions of each of the titles of the Messiah are: Sapientia (Wisdom), Adonai (Lord), Radix (Root), Clavis (Key), Oriens (Dawn), Rex (King), and Emmanuel (Emmanuel).  Take the first letters of each of the titles, starting with the last and working back to the first. You spell: EROCRAS or “ero cras… I will be (there) tomorrow”.

The song “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” is simply a reworking of the seven O Antiphons.

“O Root of Jesse, that stands for an ensign of the people, before whom the kings keep silence and unto whom the Gentiles shall make supplication: come, to deliver us, and tarry not.”

Something that lies below the earth (a root) stands high unto the heavens like a banner!  Vexilia Regis prodeunt we sing in Lent.

What is a little root during Advent becomes by Lent the Tree of our salvation.

Isaiah 11:10 gives us imagery for our reflection today. The great prophet of Advent tells us that the kingdom of David would be destroyed, but not entirely destroyed. A root would remain. Jesse is David’s father. David is Jesse’s root. David leads to Christ.

After destruction there remains a root.

No matter what the exigencies of life present to us or how turbulent the vicissitudes of the passing world may be, when we cling to the root we are sure to be victorious in the end.

Please share!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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4 Responses to Today’s O Antiphon

  1. EoinOBolguidhir says:

    Ero cras backwards, but Sacro Re forward. Would that be Holy King in Italian?

  2. EoinOBolguidhir says:

    Oops. Just an anagram. Still…

  3. Supertradmum says:

    Thank you, again, for the lovely meditations. I have always loved the O Antiphons since I was a little girl, and when there were youngsters in the house, we had an huge Jesse Tree, which included, of course, the Os. Thank you for reminding me of the Root-as one is pruned, and there seems to be no fruit, no leaves, etc., it is comforting to be reminded of the Root of faith, hope and charity, given to us in Baptism and Confirmation, nurtured by sanctifying grace through the Holy Sacraments. As St. Paul states, we have been grafted into Christ. Romans 11: “And if some of the branches be broken, and thou, being a wild olive, art ingrafted in them, and art made partaker of the root, and of the fatness of the olive tree…”

  4. irishgirl says:

    ‘Ero cras’-‘I will be there’. That’s so cool! I never thought that the titles in the ‘O Antiphons’ would spell out something that’s so profound in Latin!
    The great things we learn on this blog….thanks, Father Z!