United in one family

Daily Reading for December 22 • Charlotte Diggs (Lottie) Moon, Missionary in China, 1912, and Henry Budd, Priest, 1875

O Rex Gentium

O King of the Gentiles, and their Desire,

the Corner-stone, Who madest both one:

Come and save man,

whom Thou hast made out of the dust of the earth.

From The Greater Antiphons At Evensong During Eight Days Before Christmas from the Salisbury Antiphonary, edited by John Mason Neale and Thomas Helmore, in Hymnal Noted: Parts I and II (London: Novello, 1856).

O King of nations!

You are approaching still nigher to Bethlehem, where you are to be born.

The journey is almost over, and your august Mother,

consoled and strengthened by the dear weight she bears,

holds an unceasing converse with you on the way.

She adores your divine Majesty; she gives thanks to your mercy;

she rejoices that she has been chosen for the sublime ministry of being Mother to God.

She longs for that happy moment when her eyes shall look upon you,

and yet she fears it.

For, how will she be able to render you those services

which are due to your infinite greatness,

she that thinks herself the last of creatures?

How will she dare to raise you up in her arms,

and press you to her heart, and feed you at her breasts?

When she reflects that the hour is now near at hand, in which, being born of her,

you will require all her care and tenderness, her heart sinks within her;

for, what human heart could bear the intense vehemence of these two affections—

the love of such a Mother for her Babe, and the love of such a creature for her God?

But you support her, O Thou the Desired of nations!

for you, too, long for that happy birth,

which is to give to the earth its Saviour,

and to men that corner-stone, which will unite them all into one family.

Dearest King! be blessed for all these wonders of your power and goodness!

Come speedily, we beseech you,

come and save us, for we are dear to you,

as creatures that have been formed by your divine hands.

Yea, come, for your creation has grown degenerate;

it is lost; death has taken possession of it:

take it again into your almighty hands, and give it a new creation;

save it; for you have not ceased to take pleasure in and love your own work.

From The Liturgical Year, volume 1, Advent by Abbott Prosper Louis Paschal Guéranger, O.S.B. (Westminster, Md.: The Newman Press, 1948). Translation by Dom Laurence Shepherd, O.S.B., ca. 1867. Text lightly modernized.

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