During the final seven evenings of Advent, which begin on December 17, the antiphons for the Magnificat during evening prayer all begin with ‘O’ followed by a different name for the Messiah. The various names for the prophesied Christ originate from the book of Isaiah the prophet, to whom we hear from mostly during the Advent Season. As a group, these antiphons are known as the O Antiphons. The most common Advent hymn, O Come Emmanuel, is a hymn variation of these seven names of the Messiah. Yesterday, we covered the fifth of these antiphons, the O Oriens antiphon. We will spend the next two evenings looking at the remaining antiphons each in turn as we journey toward Christmas Day.
December 22 – O Rex Gentium Antiphon (AKA O King of Nations)
O King of all nations and keystone of the Church: come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!
Isaiah Reference: For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
He, Christ, will transcend all governmental powers and principalities, because his rule is beyond any rule that our human made governments could form. The Litany of Names in Isaiah, seemingly inexhaustable, indicates the ineffable. We, dust, are worthy of being saved from ourselves and saved from the idea that we are separate from He who formed us. Christ as keystone, heard here or in the video below, indicates that he is the final piece that balances and hold all of our seemingly separate lives, just as a keystone in masonry is the last and center piece holding a structure, or arch.
Without Christ, or without Love, we all feel as separate parts. With the Love born on Christmas, somehow our seeming separate makes sense when our wholeness is realized.
To the lonely this Christmas: believe you are a blessed part of this whole.