O Rex Gentium

22 Dec O Rex gentium

O Rex Gentium, et desideratus earum,
lapisque angularis,
qui facis utraque unum:
veni, et salva hominem,
quem de limo formasti.

O King whom all the peoples
desire, you are the cornerstone which makes all one. O come and
save man whom you made from clay.

King of the nations…that’s a tough one for one of my ilk, who has been well trained to pare masculine imagery from our religious vocabulary. I speak of the Reign of God rather than the Kingdom, I maneuver my language to be pronoun-less whenever possible.

I don’t apologize for this. There is no heresy in not surrendering to the limits of our language. I’m not one who believes the Catholic Church is extraordinarily sexist – rather, I recognize that it developed during and exists in a sexist time. In many ways it was progressive – in what other environment could women like Hildegard von Bingen accomplish what she did in the Middle Ages?

But God is not a man, so I make my little efforts to put a dent in that accepted image. I try not to do that in ways that do violence to language, and never in ways that do violence to theology. Christ, born a man among humans, is our King. Tonight’s O Antiphon blurs the line between persons of the Trinity, and I’ll go with it, trusting that those who pray with me tonight want what’s best for me and for all women, and that God desires our ongoing liberation.

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