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O Root of Jesse; Key of David

tree of JesseSomeone recently referred to the use of the O Antiphons in the past tense (“these were used…”). Well, yes, they were. But they still are being used. I use one of the O Antiphons each evening, praying it before and after the Magnificat.

The most-used shared daily reading of the scriptures is the daily eucharistic lectionary. From 17-24 December it is linked to the dates, not to the days of the week. And each set of readings has its own Gospel Acclamation, the Gradual Alleluia Tract.

On 17 December this is:

Alleluia, alleluia!
Root of Jesse, set up as a sign to the peoples,
come to save us,
and delay no more.
Alleluia!

On 18 December this is:

Alleluia, alleluia!
Ruler of the House of Israel,
who gave the law to Moses on Sinai,
come and save us with outstretched arm.
Alleluia!

So even those who do not pray the evening office encounter the image in each O Antiphon day by day as they celebrate daily Eucharist.

Join this slowing these last days of Advent by reflecting on and praying:
O Radix Jesse – O Root of Jesse – December 19
O Clavis David – O Key of David – December 20

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12 Responses to O Root of Jesse; Key of David

  1. I like the idea of using the Antiphons as the basis for Gospel Alleluias on these seven days. It’s not part of the tradition here in the Church of England. Are these texts from the New Zealand Prayer Book, or some other source?

    • Thanks, John Paul (please can you remember to put your ordinary name here, thanks). There must be churches in CofE that use an Alleluia Gradual verse before the Gospel reading – or are you saying there are, but they source the verse differently? I took these particular texts from the Roman Missal. I think there is no hint of the O Antiphons in NZPB, but I would be very happy to be proved wrong. Advent Blessings.

      • Thanks, Bosco. Yes – of course the use of Alleluia verses is fairly widespread here, at least in the more Catholic parishes. I hadn’t come across these particular texts. though I have now found them in the Roman Missal. It’s curious, isn’t it, that the days on which each text is used doesn’t correspond, for the most part, with the day on which the equivalent O Antiphon is used?

        Many thanks for continuing to run such an interesting resource.

        (By the way, although my given name is John Paul, I’m universally known as JP – I wasn’t trying to hide!)

        Blessings.

  2. Do you use this 18th century carol in NZ Bosco?-

    The tree of life my soul hath seen,
    Laden with fruit and always green:
    The trees of nature fruitless be
    Compared with Christ the apple tree.

    His beauty doth all things excel:
    By faith I know, but ne’er can tell
    The glory which I now can see
    In Jesus Christ the apple tree.

    For happiness I long have sought,
    And pleasure dearly I have bought:
    I missed of all; but now I see
    ‘Tis found in Christ the apple tree.

    I’m weary with my former toil,
    Here I will sit and rest awhile:
    Under the shadow I will be,
    Of Jesus Christ the apple tree.

    This fruit doth make my soul to thrive,
    It keeps my dying faith alive;
    Which makes my soul in haste to be
    With Jesus Christ the apple tree.

    We sing it in the UK and US to this setting http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPJBFYuUWvY

  3. The Antiphons are extensively used in the Church of England. They find their place at the Magnificat in ‘Common Worship Daily Prayer’, and are also referenced in ‘Common Worship Times and Seasons’, together with a helpful alternative Lectionary for Evening Prayer. ‘The Promise of His Glory’ also included them and made some imaginative suggestions for their use in Advent Carol Services and Services of Penitence.
    Many Parishes find that the simplest way to use the authorised daily Eucharistic Readings is in the form provided in the various (RC) Weekday Missals, where they are, as you say, provided as Gospel Acclamations, though some are not used on their traditional days.

  4. Bosco, I love the O Antiphons, and I’ve posted the video of the antiphons chanted by the Dominican student brothers of Blackfriars in Oxford since 2007, the year I started blogging. The brothers have chants for only seven days, so I follow their lead and omit O Virgo Virginum.

    June Butler

    • Thanks, June. Yes, that’s how I pray them, conscious that’s how others are praying them all around the world – started off here in NZ. I’m trying to find out why the Mass versions disconnect. Blessings.

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Rev. Bosco Peters Welcome to this ecumenical website of resources and reflections on liturgy, spirituality, and worship for individuals and communities. It is run by Rev. Bosco Peters.