Wednesday, December 18, 2013

O Radix Jesse (December 18)

Tonight's Great "O" Antiphon sung before and after the Magnificat is O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse).

O Root of Jesse, which standest for an ensign of the people, at whom kings shall stop their mouths, whom the Gentiles shall seek: Come and deliver us, and tarry not.

Here's a video of the antiphon sung in English, from the Society of St. John the Evangelist, an Episcopal monastic order in Cambridge, MA; there's a discussion of the antiphon after it's sung.

The text for this Antiphon comes primarily from Isaiah. The "root of Jesse" is a reference to Isaiah 11 - and the wonderful "kings shall shut their mouths" comes from the haunting "Suffering Servant" passages in Isaiah 52-53:
Behold, my servant shall act wisely;
he shall be high and lifted up,
and shall be exalted.
As many were astonished at you—
his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance,
and his form beyond that of the children of mankind—
so shall he startle many nations;
kings shall shut their mouths because of him;
for that which has not been told them they see,
and that which they have not heard they understand.

Below is a Latin version of the Magnificat itself.

The text of the Magnificat comes from Luke 1;  here are the words to the original Latin and the modern English (US BCP 1979) versions of this beautiful canticle, so that you can sing along if you wish.

Magnificat: anima mea Dominum.
Et exultavit spiritus meus: in Deo salutari meo.
Quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae:
ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes.
Quia fecit mihi magna, qui potens est:
et sanctum nomen eius.
Et misericordia eius, a progenie et progenies:
timentibus eum.
Fecit potentiam in brachio suo:
dispersit superbos mente cordis sui.
Deposuit potentes de sede:
et exaltavit humiles.
Esurientes implevit bonis:
et divites dimisit inanes.
Suscepit Israel puerum suum:
recordatus misericordiae suae.
Sicut locutus est ad patres nostros:
Abraham, et semini eius in saecula.

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto,
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; *
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed: *
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him *
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm, *
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, *
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things, *
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel, *
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
The promise he made to our fathers, *
to Abraham and his children for ever.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

If you'd like to pray the whole office of Vespers, you can do it at St. Bede's Breviary; choose "Amplified Prayer Book" under "Style" to get the "O's".

This article, written in around 1914 by A.C.A. Hall, the Episcopal Bishop of Vermont, contains quite a bit more about the Great "O"s.

This is an "O Antiphon" page from the Poissy Antiphonal (1335-45);  it's got "O Sapientia," "O Adonai," and "O Radix Jesse" - the first three "O"s:

No comments:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...