Today 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.