Here is the O Antiphon for 19 December: O Radix Jesse
Again O Lord is presented a the Liberator.
LATIN: O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum, super quem continebunt reges os suum, quem gentes deprecabuntur: veni ad liberandum nos, iam noli tardare.
ENGLISH: 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.
Relevant verse of Veni, Veni Emmanuel:
O come, O Rod of Jesse free,
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory o’er the grave.
What urgency there is in this antiphon.
Our Lewis & Short says that radix is “a root, ground, basis, foundation, origin, source”.
Ironically, roots are underground and invisible, but standards, ensigns are raised high in the air.
Something that lies below the earth (a root) stands high into the heavens like a banner!
Vexilia Regis Prodeunt we sing in Lent. The little root of Advent becomes by Lent grows into the Tree of our salvation.
The one from above takes our mortal clay into an indestructible bond. He raises us to the heavens.
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 the 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.
Life includes patterns of destruction and rebuilding, pruning and regrowth, transplantation and rerooting. So long as we are grafted into the Root, we survive and grow.