Advent Daybook, 18: O Radix Jesse (Root of Jesse)

An Advent daybook for these 24 days of prayerful expectation. Join me, won't you?

For an introduction read this post: Advent Daybook explained. You can see previous Advent daybook 2018 posts here.

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Look: O Root, Ansgar Holmberg of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet

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O Radix: O Root of Jesse, who standest for an ensign to the peoples, at whom kings shall shut their mouths, and to whom the gentiles shall pray: Come and deliver us, and do not delay.

Read this post for an overview of praying the O Antiphons the week leading up to Christmas.


Listen: “Isaiah 11” from Waiting Songs, Rain for Roots (lyrics)

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Behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts will lop the boughs with terrifying power; the great in height will be hewn down, and the lofty will be brought low. He will cut down the thickets of the forest with an axe, and Lebanon with its majestic trees will fall.

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. “
...

”Righteousness shall be the girdle of his waist,
and faithfulness the girdle of his loins.

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
and the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall feed;
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The sucking child shall play over the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.
They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.

In that day the root of Jesse shall stand as an ensign to the peoples; him shall the nations seek, and his dwellings shall be glorious. ...

Behold, my servant shall prosper,
he shall be exalted and lifted up,
and shall be very high.
As many were astonished at him—
his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance,
and his form beyond that of the sons of men—
so shall he startle many nations;
kings shall shut their mouths because of him;
for that which has not been told them they shall see,
and that which they have not heard they shall understand.”
*
”For still the vision awaits its time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie.
If it seem slow, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay.”
*
”Welcome one another, therefore, as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written,

’Therefore I will praise thee among the Gentiles,
and sing to thy name’... and further Isaiah says,

’The root of Jesse shall come,
he who rises to rule the Gentiles;
in him shall the Gentiles hope.’”
*
“In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you!’ But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.

He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.’”
*
”‘Then one of the elders said to me, ‘Weep not; lo, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.’
— Isaiah 10:33-11:2a, 11:5-10, Isaiah 52:13-15, Habakkuk 2:3, Romans 15:7-9,12, Luke 1:26-33, Revelation 5:5 (RSV)

Pray in song the fourth verse of O Come, O Come 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

Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel
shall come to you, O Israel.
— "O come, O come, Emmanuel, And ransom captive Israel" Translator: John Mason Neale (1851)

Do:

On Wednesdays through Advent and Christmastide we’ll practice a 5-minute contemplative prayer method adapted from Joshua Banner’s booklet “40 Ways To Spend 5 Minutes With God”.*

Make space

Eliminate an unnecessary daily habit in order to offer more room for God to fill today.

"For still the vision awaits its time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seem slow, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay." (Hab. 2:3)

  • Create more space for God throughout your day by eliminating an unnecessary daily habit. Remove some or all internet access, news, music, email, or texts from your morning routine, your drive to work, during a lunch break, from dinner through bed or even throughout a whole day. Allow God to fill this new empty space. Use your five minutes to reflect on how this kind of fasting is affecting your openness to God.

  • Listen to O Radix Advent antiphon and sonnet by Malcolm Guite by clicking through to his website, or pressing the play button below.

* Josh Banner is the Director of Invitation, a practice of spiritual formation through a podcast that is invigorated by the movements of the Holy Spirit in a prison. I’ve enjoyed this podcast for it’s guided meditations and gentle teaching on prayer. You can receive a copy of the excellent booklet “40 Ways To Spend 5 Minutes With God” and support The Invitation at the Kickstarter’s $15 level.


(See all Advent Daybook posts from 2017 here.)