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O Rex Gentium

22 December O Rex gentium by Philip Chircop SJ

O Rex gentium, by Philip Chircop SJ. O Antiphon for 22 December.

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.

From the 17th to the 23rd of December, in the final days of Advent, the antiphons for the Magnificat at Vespers are particularly elaborate. Each antiphon is a title of the Messiah, and each refers to one of Isaiah’s prophecies of the Messiah.

These “O Antiphons”, in metrical form, comprise the verses of the familiar Christmas hymn, “O come, o come, Emmanuel”. The initials of the second word in each antiphon (“Sapientia”, “Adonai”, et cetera), taken in reverse order, form the acrostic ero cras, meaning “Tomorrow, I will be [there]”.

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