Artwork by the Benedictine Sisters of Turvey Abbey
December 22nd: 'O King of the Nations
whom they long for, the cornerstone who make two into one, come and save
mankind whom you formed from the earth.'
'O Rex gentium, et
lapisque angularis, qui facis unum:
veni, et salvi hominem, quem de limo formasti.'
The Jewish Messiah will not be restricted to the Chosen People. He is the King
of the nations (Jeremiah 10:7), the unifying cornerstone (Matthew 21:42) and
tells his disciples to "go out to the whole world to proclaim the Good
News to all creation" (Mark 16:15).
St Paul takes up the theme of the cornerstone in his letters to the Ephesians 2
and Galations 3.
The banner gives a panorama of the contemporary world to be won for the
universal King and to be brought to the unity for which he himself prayed (John
The O Antiphons are a highlight of the
Church's Advent Liturgy:from December 17th - 23rd they frame the Magnificat at
Rich in symbolism
and meaning they take us right from the beginning of creation, through the
centuries of the world's waiting for the promised Messiah, calling upon him who
was hidden in signs and symbols, and revealed when the fullness of time had
come, leading us to the Mystery of the Incarnation and beyond, to the Paschal
Mystery, the coming of the Holy Spirit and the Parousia (Christ's second
origin of the Latin texts is unknown. They may date from the sixth century.
There is evidence to suggest that the texts were in liturgical use in Rome in
the eighth century. Both the original Latin texts and an English translation
are given here.
at the 7th Antiphon on December 23rd, we may discover that the letters of the
Latin invocations, read from the last up to the first, form a wonderful
acrostic (ERO CRAS), like God's answer to our prayer :
Dec. 17: Sapienta (O Wisdom)
Dec. 18: Adonai (O Adonai [Lord])
Dec. 19: Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse)
Dec. 20: Clavis David (O Key of David)
Dec. 21: Oriens (O Rising Sun)
Dec. 22: Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations)
Dec. 23: Emmanuel (O Emmanuel)
ERO CRAS: I WILL BE HERE TOMORROW
Christmas: O Wonderful Exchange (Antiphon
from the Greek Liturgy "O Wonderful Exchange! The Creator of the human
race took to himself a human body and was born of a virgin, and becoming man he
granted us divinity.")
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