Monday, December 19, 2011

O Flower(Or Root?) of Jesse's Stem. have been raised up as a sign for all peoples; kings stand silent in your presence; the nations bow down in worship before you. Come, let nothing keep you from coming to our aid. 
-Magnificat antiphon, Dec. 19th.

Update: a reader asked why this antiphon begins "O Flower of Jesse's stem, when the Latin--O Radix--clearly says "Root of Jesse"  My guess is that we have another case of "dynamic equivalent",  modern translation in our breviary. On the other hand, the root connects to the stem and the end of the stem flowers. It's all one. Also, think of a very old hymn, "Lo, how a rose e'er Blooming." (from tender stem has sprung, from Jesses's lineage coming, etc.) So there is an old tradition of --what? Not a synedoche exactly, but something like that. Metonomy, maybe: using one part to refer to another. Here is the older translation:

O Root of Jesse, a standard to the peoples before whome ings are mute, to whom all nations shall appeal--come to deliver us; delay, we beg you, no longer.

Lots of bloggers are writing about the O Antiphons this week (yay!). You won't find a more detailed and interesting explication than this one.