Come, O Root of Jesse


Today’s O Antiphon is below—in its Latin, English, and adapted forms. Subscribers can keep reading below the image for a short reflection and another response poem by the brilliant Fr. Malcolm Guite. I hope these brief moments of reading and reflection help you capture the heart of Advent in this busy final week before Christmas.

O Radix Jesse

Latin Text
O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum,
super quem continebunt reges os suum,
quem Gentes deprecabuntur:
veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli tardare.

English Translation O Root of Jesse, standing as a sign among the peoples; before you kings will shut their mouths, to you the nations will make their prayer: Come and deliver us, and delay no longer

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel Adaptation O come, O Branch of Jesse’s stem, unto your own and rescue them! From depths of hell your people save, and give them victory o’er the grave.

A Poetic Response, by Fr. Malcolm Guite

Though it reads as a response to the virtual world we have all increasingly lived in to various degrees since March 2020, today's poem by Fr. Guite was written well before the pandemic. It draws to mind our rootedness in salvation history, and presents Jesus to us as a return to the way we were created to live.

O Radix / O Root
All of us sprung from one deep-hidden seed,
Rose from a root invisible to all.

We knew the virtues once of every weed, But, severed from the roots of ritual, We surf the surface of a wide-screen world And find no virtue in the virtual.

We shrivel on the edges of a wood Whose heart we once inhabited in love, Now we have need of you, forgotten Root The stock and stem of every living thing Whom once we worshiped in the sacred grove, For now is winter, now is withering Unless we let you root us deep within, Under the ground of being, graft us in.