O Rex Gentium: Meditations on the O Antiphons


The sixth O Antiphon is to the King of Nations.

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

O king of nations, and their desire,
and cornerstone, who makes them one,
come, and save humankind,
which you formed from clay.

This antiphon follows the theme of triumph begun in the last one. If O Oriens shows how the incarnation prefigured the cosmic dawn of Christ’s resurrection, O Rex Gentium depicts the ascended Christ enthroned over the world. He has taken up not only David’s scepter but the scepter of heaven, subjecting all powers in heaven and earth to himself.

Three messianic titles appear in the first two lines: “king of nations,” “desire of nations,” and “cornerstone, making them one” (cf. Jeremiah 10:7, Haggai 2:7, and Ephesians 2:20 respectively). These images together suggest the fullness of his presence: he is over us as king, he is with us as beloved, and he is at our foundation as cornerstone. He binds us to the Godhead, to his incarnate person, and to one another.

Continue reading