O Rex Gentium, et desideratus earum,
lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum:
veni, et salva hominem,
quem de limo formasti.
O King of all the nations, the only joy of every human heart;
O Keystone of the mighty arch of man:
Come and save the creature you fashioned from the dust.
From the Lectionary Cycle:
Rex gentium et lapis angularis Ecclesiae:
veni et salva hominem quem de limo formasti.
O King of all nations and keystone of the Church:
come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!
From the Hymn:
Veni, Veni, Rex Gentium, Veni, Redemptor omnium,
ut salvas tuos famulos peccati sibi conscios.
O Come, Desire of the nations, bind
in one the hearts of all mankind;
bid every strife and quarrel cease
and fill the world with heaven’s peace.
Today the Church calls to mind O Rex Gentium, that is O King of the Gentiles. If you look at the other meanings for the word Gens, or gentis which is where Gentium comes from, it can also mean people, nation, or a tribe. When we call to mind Christ as King today, we can remember that upon his birth the wise men from the East, were questioned by Herod as to where this “King’ would be born, because he was scared of him. So Herod went out and had all of the newborn male children killed. Joseph having a dream of an angel, took Mary and Jesus and fled with them to Egypt, so that Jesus would be safe. This is called the Feast of the Holy Innocents and was an example of why we call Joseph, “The Family Protector”.
We call Christ, King, because he is not only our ruler, but also our creator. We ask him to come and re-make us. To cast away our sin and put us back on the wheel to make us into what he desires. We ask Christ to make us like him. As Augustine once said: “Our Hearts were made for thee Oh Lord, and they are restless until they rest in thee. This evening we call upon our King to refashion our hearts like unto his. We call upon our maker to make us his, to set us free from our slavery to sin, we ask him to come, O Great King of the Gentiles, Great King of the Nations, Great King of Israel, O Rex Gentium, come quickly and do not tarry!!
Scriptural References for O Rex Gentium: