O Rex Gentium, Today’s O Antiphon Reply

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

In today’s Gospel reading, the Angel reveals to St Joseph in a dream that the word of the Prophet Isaiah would be fulfilled: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel.”

O Emmanuel happens to be the O Antiphon for tomorrow, so I want to reserve that reflection for just one more day. Although, my thoughts for today do linger in that direction. 

Today’s Antiphon, “O King of Nations,” calls to my mind the 3 Kings who traveled from their native lands to Israel asking, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.’ 

May all kings bow before him, all nations serve him.

May all kings bow before him, all nations serve him — Psalm 72:11

Christmas isn’t here yet and the Epiphany is still a good ways off, but if you think about it, that kind of puts the Magi in our shoes, or vice versa. Are we living the same Advent they were?

This raises another question, whose answer may seem obvious, but as we enter into Advent’s eleventh hour, it’s an important one to ask, I think: Are we going out to see Christ, or is Christ coming to us?

Obviously Christ is coming to us. However, we should also take the attitude of the Shepherds and the Magi, who went to adore him. The encounter with Christ must in some way be a meeting of the two. Isn’t this the reason we put so much effort into preparation — externally and internally — this time of year? Our Lord is coming to us!

That last part, though, is the important thing and the only thing that matters, and this should give our souls great peace: He is coming to be with us.

Isaiah 9:6 "For a child has been born for us, a son given us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace"

Isaiah 9:6 “For a child has been born for us, a son given us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”

Let this be our focus as we draw nearer to the manger in Bethlehem, putting our worthiness or unworthiness aside, because, after all, that does not matter. He comes to save us.

The Prince of Peace is coming to us. In the silence of our hearts — Come! Let us adore Him!

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