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Catholic Dictionary




A symbol of Christ, "a shoot springs from the root of Jesse" (Isaiah 11:1). St. Ambrose explains the root as the family of the Jews, the stem as Mary, the flower as Christ. The great O antiphon of December 19 is sung "O Root of Jesse who standeth as an ensign of the people before whom kings will keep silence and unto whom the Gentiles will make supplication, come to deliver us and tarry not." Often represented as a flourishing tree, it carries the six-pointed star of Israel at is base and the Cross as its fulfilled blossom at the apex.