O Rex Gentium

O Rex Gentium December 22, 2018


The O Antiphon for December 22nd:

O Rex Gentium, et desideratus earum, lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum: veni, et salva hominem, quem de limo formasti.

O King of the nations, and their desire, the cornerstone making both one: Come and save the human race, which you fashioned from clay.

O come, O King of nations, bind
in one the hearts of all mankind.
Bid all our sad divisions cease
and be yourself our King of Peace.

Rejoice, rejoice!

Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel! 


The children of Israel came to Samuel and demanded a king, so that they could be like other nations.

Samuel warned the people that a king would take everything they had. A king would take away their sons to serve in his army, to run in front of chariots, to plow his field, to make weapons. He would take their daughters as household servants to pamper him. He would take their farmland to gift to his most favored subjects. He would take an extra tithe of their crops. A king would take their livestock and their servants, and the free men and women of Israel would find themselves slaves. They would cry out to the Lord for relief, but the Lord would not listen.

The Israelites were adamant. They wanted a king, so they could be like other nations, and they didn’t care what it would cost them.

The Lord let them have what they wanted. He sent Samuel to anoint Saul as king of Israel, the first in a long and mostly ugly line of kings.

It all happened just as the Lord had said.

Bit by bit, the kings took everything the Israelites had.

Through this bad decision and that bad decision, this bad example and that bad example, on the part of kings, Israel lost everything she had. She lost all of her wealth, all the splendors of the temple of Solomon. She lost portions of her land here and there until it was gone. She lost her crops, her livestock, her servants and her children. In the end, the whole land was sacked and dragged away to Babylon, and they all became slaves to Babylon’s king.

In their slavery, in their exile, their poverty and their shame, they cried out to the Lord.

For the longest time, the Lord did not seem to listen.

After awhile, the sons and daughters of those exiled came back, but they didn’t remain free. We have had one conqueror and then another, one king after another, until this day.

But the Lord has heard our cry.

He has arranged to deliver us, by becoming our King.

Our King has come into the world, through the fiat of our mother, Miriam. A few days more, and we will see Him. When he appears to us, He will act as kings always have done. He will take everything we have. He will take our slavery. He will take our exile. He will take our poverty. He will take our shame. He will wear the marks of our infamy, our scourges and our crown of thorns, in His own Body and He will wear them all the way to Calvary. On Calvary, we will see Him carry everything we have borne right into the mouth of hell and He will take Hell prisoner as well. Then He will rise again triumphant, and take every wreath of empire for His own.

And then He will take us to where He is, and return to us everything that we have lost at the hands of every other king. Everyone who has lost homes, brothers or sisters, fathers or mothers, spouses or children will find them again in Him, and in Him eternal life.

Our King is coming to save us.

Every eye will behold His Majesty.

He is coming to take away our shame, and He is almost here.

O Rex Gentium, et desideratus earum, lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum: veni, et salva hominem, quem de limo formasti.

O come, O King of Nations.

(image via Pixabay) 

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