Monday, December 20, 2010

O Root of Jesse - Dec 19

Thanks to Peter Os kids for the drawings
Vespers of the 19th of December

O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum,
super quem continebunt reges os suum,
quem Gentes deprecabuntur:
veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli tardare.
O Root of Jesse, who stand for an ensign of the people;
before whom kings will shut their mouths,
whom the nations shall beseech:
Come to deliver us, now do not tarry.

Someone asked if I could post at the beginning of the day.  In fact, I want you to read this about the time of Vespers.  My reason for this is actually tied in with the code.   I also promised to explain why I said "sort of today" in my first post.  Recently the practice has been introduced of having anticipation masses of Sunday on Saturday night.  (It is not right to call them Vigil Masses.)  In point of fact, this may be the more appropriate time to have a Sunday Mass then Sunday night or the evening of a holy day.  Think of it: you go to mass on Sunday night and your Sunday is over.  Is it not better to have been to Mass even the night before so that your Sunday or holy day is sanctified?  Not long before 1962 the liturgical day started with Vespers.  So on any feast of a saint you would celebrate Vespers for that saint the day before, and then in the evening at the end of his feast day, you would say the Vespers of the saint of the next calendar day.  Only on great feasts and Sundays would you say a Second Vespers in the evening at the end of the feast day.  
Sundays and major feasts (1st Class or Solemnities) still have a Vespers the day before.  The 'O Antiphons' are also preserved on the day before, perhaps for no other reason than that Christmas has a first Vespers on the 24th.  Remember: the 'O Antiphons' go from the evening of the 17th to the Evening of the 23rd, not the 24th.  So the "O Antiphon" should be something you think about, dream about, and then meditate on, till the next Vespers (and the new antiphon.)

Now to the 'O Antiphon' for today.  'O Radix Jesse'  Here we have the first and the third phrase from Isaiah 11:10.  The words are almost identical except that the third person verb 'stands' now is in the second person 'stand', because we are saying 'O'. We are not saying, "he who standS", but "O (Thou) who stand_."

Concerning the root of Jesse:
there is another expression, shoot from the root of Jesse (Virga de radice Jesse), which obviously refers to the other end of the Jesse Tree.  Now the shoot of Jesse refers to our Lady or our Lord, and this is where you would think to put our Lord on the tree, as a branch that grows out of the tree.  We should not be dumbfounded at scripture saying that Our Lord is the root of Jesse as the Pharisees were dumbfound when Jesus pointed out that the Messiah is the Lord of David.  Root of Jesse, Lord of David. For we know that our Lord is God and that He caused the tree of Jesse to be.  Yet He is also the son of David, and a shoot of Jesse.

Perhaps referring to our Lord as a
n ensign points to His incarnation.  A visible reality that points to an invisible reality is a sign, and this ensign particularly refers to our Lord on the cross because the nations will beseech him.  So the action of prayer should be before the cross, at least in intention, since His crucifixion is the source of the efficacy of our prayer.  Meanwhile, the kings are speechless because they do not believe in the Incarnation or the Cross and are left somehow powerless to resist it.  We, however, under the kings of this world, under the present reign of sin, see our chances lie in the power of the Root of Jesse.  Eager to be free from sin we cry,  "Come to deliver us, now do not tarry."

So there you have it.  The title for Christ today is 'Radix Jesse' which gives us
an “R” and adding that to the code we get: R A S.

Written by Fr O.

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