Archive for O King of All the Nations

O King of All the Nations: We Are Not One

Posted in Advent, O Antiphons with tags , , , , on December 22, 2013 by Daniel P. Horan, OFM

international_flags2O King of all nations, the only joy of every human heart; O Keystone of the mighty arch of humankind, come and save the creature you fashioned from the dust.

Anytime there is a tragedy or a triumph the expression “We Are One” seems to appear on placards and t-shirts, perhaps second only to the phrase “never forget.” Yet, I don’t believe that there is a less-truthful expression of reality out there. Rather than turning toward our inherent unity, that which we all share in common by way of source and future, we tend to bicker, fight, steal, maim, and abuse. This happens within the human family, but it also happens beyond it — a reality starkly aware to those paying attention to our ecological crises.

The reason that “We Are One” is so disingenuous has to do, I believe, with the second part of the first phrase in today’s antiphon: “the only joy of every human heart.” The reason that we are not one stems from, as Augustine would say, our disordered affections, the loving of things in a way disproportionate to their value. Augustine’s perennial concern was that things and people are mistakenly loved in this life as if they were God. God is be loved above all else, to be the only joy of every human heart, yet we subordinate God to material things like money and power or we subordinate God even to good things like those close to us.

Augustine does not think that we should only love God and disregard other people, creatures, and things in this life. Instead, the question is how do we love when we love God? Or, put more directly, what do we love more than God?

What the life of Jesus Christ reveals to us, what we anticipate in the quickly approaching feast of the Incarnation, is how we are to love God as if God was the only joy of every human heart. What Christ shows by demonstration is that to love God with all our heart and strength is to love others. To love God with all our heart and strength is to do that when it’s difficult, when we don’t want to, when we’d rather love someone or something else first, more, or rather-than.

While it is true that we are not one, I believe that today’s antiphon calls us to reflect on how we might become more unified in shifting the objects of our love and affection. Loving God with a singular joy means loving others in concrete and identifiable ways. Only then will today’s O Antiphon come to fruition: God can then be king of all the nations, a sign that we know our source and our goal, the object of our greatest love that is made manifest in our care and concern for others.

Photo: Stock

O King of All Nations: This is My Song

Posted in Advent, O Antiphons, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on December 22, 2012 by Daniel P. Horan, OFM

Draw_Me_The_World_by_stickerstickerO King of all nations, the only joy of every human heart; O Keystone of the mighty arch of humankind, come and save the creature you fashioned from the dust.

In the United States, especially in times of political contestation and in a year when even religious leaders decry specters of threats against “religious liberty,” it can be difficult to think of the coming of Christ as the coming of the “King of all nations.” The king of Iran, the king of Israel, the king of North Korea, and of China, the United States, and Haiti. Because of this truth, the fact that we believe that Christ is indeed the keystone of the “might arch of humankind,” that we need to put down temptations of extreme patriotism, jingoism, and discrimination on all fronts.

The United States is not the greatest nation on earth. All nations have things about which to be proud and things for which to be ashamed. Greatness, at least greatness as conceived by Jesus’s instruction to his disciples to be the least and to serve all, has not been intentionally achieved by any human community on this earth.

Nevertheless, the King of all nations comes. Christ is near. Are we ready to accept that? To accept our interrelatedness with all people on earth? Or will we, especially in the United States, continue to look only at ourselves to the disregard of all others?

In honor of today’s O Antiphon, I want to share the lyrics to one of my favorite songs: This is My Song, set to Sebelius’s famous tune, Finlandia. This is my song today, my prayer for this O Antiphon.

This is my song, O God of all the nations,
A song of peace for lands afar and mine.
This is my home, the country where my heart is;
Here are my hopes, my dreams, my sacred shrine.
But other hearts in other lands are beating,
With hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.

My country’s skies are bluer than the ocean,
And sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine.
But other lands have sunlight too and clover,
And skies are everywhere as blue as mine.
O hear my song, O God of all the nations,
A song of peace for their land and for mine.

May truth and freedom come to every nation;
May peace abound where strife has raged so long;
That each may seek to love and build together,
A world united, righting every wrong;
A world united in its love for freedom,
Proclaiming peace together in one song.

This is my prayer, O Lord of all earth’s kingdoms:
Thy kingdom come; on earth thy will be done.
Let Christ be lifted up till all shall serve him,
And hearts united learn to live as one.
O hear my prayer, thou God of all the nations;
Myself I give thee, let thy will be done.

Photo: File
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