O Root of Jesse set up as a sign to the peoples come to save us and delay no more.
This is the third ‘O Antiphon’ during this time of preparation for the Christmas celebration. Four of the seven Antiphons call upon God to ‘come and save us’, whilst the other three call on him to ‘liberate us’, ‘to enlighten us’ and ‘to teach us’.
Today we call upon God to save us and to delay no more – this theme is very prominent in all the liturgy of this season. People through the ages right up to the present day either explicitly or implicitly have called on God to save them – but the marvellous TRUTH is that our loving Father in Heaven wants it infinitely more than we could ever conceive in our finite minds and hearts. So much does he thirst for all peoples to be with him for all eternity, that he sent his only begotten Son into the world to be our Saviour and Redeemer.
In the letter to the Hebrews (10:5-10) we are told: this is what Christ said coming into the world: ‘you took no pleasure in sacrifice for sin – then I said, God, here I am! I am coming to obey your Will’. This is the stupendous and wonderful mystery we will be celebrating in a spirit of deep inner joy in just a few days. The great love of Jesus for his Father continues, and will continue, to the end of time.
The 33 years of Jesus’ earthly life did not suffice. As Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity has expressed it so beautifully and profoundly – ‘From each of us he demands another humanity’ – he says: ‘My child, give me your heart, that in you and through you in a life of union, the Father may be loved ardently – give me your mind, your heart, your hands, your eyes, your whole being, so that I may live a continuation of my life on earth’.
We are called to be his instruments, to give him absolute freedom to act in and through us for the salvation of all people.
How alert, how aware we must be, of his desire to work in and through us,his peace and healing, his compassion, and above all his loving forgiveness to our needy world. To this end, perhaps we could reflect and pray in the words of the well loved Prayer of Blessed John Henry Newman:
Beloved Jesus
help me to spread your fragrance everywhere I go.
Flood my soul with your Spirit and your Life.
Possess and penetrate my whole being so utterly
that all my life may only be a radiance of yours.
Be in me and so shine through me, that every one
I come in contact with, may feel your Presence in my soul;
Let them look up and see no longer me,
but only you, my Jesus.
Abide in me then I shall begin to shine as you shine;
so to shine as to be a light to others.
The light, O Jesus, will be all from you,
none of it will be mine – no merit to me.
It will be you who shine through me on others.
Give light to all those around me as well as to me.
Let me find you shining also in them.
Teach us to show forth your Praise, your Truth, your Will. Amen.
O Root of Jesse, come to save us and delay no more.