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The Sixth “O” Antiphon – O REX GENTIUM

O Rex Géntium

The Sixth Great or “O” Antiphon

O Rex géntium, et desiderátus eárum, lapísque anguláris, qui facis útraque unum: veni, et salva hóminem, quem de limo formásti.

O King of the Gentiles, yea, and Desire thereof, O Cornerstone that makest of twain one; come to save man, whom thou hast made of the dust of the earth!

[Here pray the Magnificat, then repeat the Antiphon.]

The “O” Antiphons

“The Church enters to-day on the seven days, which precede the Vigil of Christmas, and which are known in the Liturgy under the name of the Greater Ferias. The ordinary of the Advent Office becomes more solemn; the Antiphons of the Psalms, both for Lauds and the Hours of the day, are proper, and allude expressly to the great Coming. Every day, at Vespers, is sung a solemn Antiphon, which consists of a fervent prayer to the Messias, whom it addresses by one of the titles given him by the sacred Scriptures.

“In the Roman Church, there are seven of these Antiphons, one for each of the Greater Ferias, They are commonly called the O’s of Advent, because they all begin with that interjection.

The canonical Hour of Vespers has been selected as the most appropriate time for this solemn supplication to our Saviour, because, as the Church sings in one of her hymns, it was in the Evening of the world (vergente mundi vespere) that the Messias came amongst us. These Antiphons are sung at the Magnificat, to show us that the Saviour, whom we expect, is to come to us by Mary. They are sung twice; once before and once after the Canticle, as on Double Feasts, and this to show their great solemnity. … Lastly, these admirable Antiphons, which contain the whole pith of the Advent Liturgy, are accompanied by a chant replete with melodious gravity, and by ceremonies of great expressiveness, though, in these latter, there is no uniform practice followed. Let us enter into the spirit of the Church; let us reflect on the great Day which is coming; that thus we may take oar share in these the last and most earnest solicitations of the Church imploring her Spouse to come, and to which He at length yields.”

 ~ Dom Prosper Gueranger, The Liturgical Year (19th c.)

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