Monday, December 22, 2014

December 22: O Rex Géntium

At Vespers on these days, we pray one of the "O" antiphons at the Magnificat.  Today, December 22, the antiphon is "O Rex Gentium":

O Rex Géntium, * et desiderátus eárum, lapisque angularis, qui facis utráque unum: veni, et salva hóminem, quem de limo formásti.
O King and treasure of the nations, the corner-stone that makes the two into one; come and save man whom you fashioned from dust.

From "Liturgical Meditations for the Entire Year" by the Sisters of St. Dominic, Adrian, MI (B. Herder, 1960):

Today’s liturgy calls upon the Holy One of Israel, desired of all nations, to come and rescue the human race.  Formed of clay and corrupted by sin, man is in need of a Savior.  From the heights of heaven there comes to him the Lord of the world, the King of nations, the eternal Son of God.

Without a keen sense of our own wretchedness we shall fail to appreciate the benefit of redemption.  If we are not fully convinced that of our selves we are the dust of the earth incapable of a single good thought or meritorious action, we shall not cry out for help to Him who cometh to us from afar.  The more completely we realize our need, the more earnestly we shall implore Him to come quickly that He may relieve our misery.  There is no more fitting preparation for His arrival than the sincere admission of our dependence upon Him.  “Behold the afflictions of Thy people.  Come and deliver us as Thou hast promised” (Matins for the 1st Sunday of Advent, Dominican Breviary).