O REX GENTIUM

SIXTH ANTIPHON.
O REX GENTIUM

by the Very Rev. Dom Prosper Guéranger
Abbot of Solesmes

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

O King of nations, and their desired One, and the corner-stone that makest both one; come and save man whom thou formedst out of slime.

O King of Nations! thou art approaching still nigher to Bethlehem, where thou art to be born. The journey is almost over, and thy august Mother, consoled and strengthened by the dear weight she bears, holds an unceasing converse with thee on the way. She adores thy divine Majesty; she gives thanks to thy mercy; she rejoices that she has been chosen for the sublime ministry of being Mother to God. She longs for that happy moment when her eyes shall look upon thee, and yet she fears it. For, how will she be able to render thee those services which are due to thy infinite greatness, she that thinks herself the last of creatures? How will she dare to raise thee up in her arms, and press thee to her heart, and feed thee at her breasts? When she reflects that the hour is now near at hand, in which, being born of her, thou wilt require all her care and tenderness, her heart sinks within her; for, what human heart could bear the intense vehemence of these two affections, – the love of such a Mother for her Babe, and the love of such a Creature for her God? But thou supportest her, O thou the Desired of Nations! for thou, too, longest for that happy Birth, which is to give the earth its Saviour, and to men that Corner-Stone, which will unite them all into one family. Dearest King! be thou blessed for all these wonders of thy power and goodness! Come speedily, we beseech thee, come and save us, for we are dear to thee, as creatures that have been formed by thy divine hands. Yea, come, for thy creation has grown degenerate; it is lost; death has taken possession of it: take it thou again into thy almighty hands, and give it a new creation; save it; for thou hast not ceased to take pleasure in and love thine own work.

THE GREAT ANTIPHON IN HONOUR OF CHRIST.

O Rex Pacifice, tu ante saecula nate, per auream egredere portam, redemptos tuos visita, et eos illuc revoca, unde ruerunt per culpam.

O King of Peace! that wast born before all ages, come by the golden gate; visit them whom thou hast redeemed, and lead them back to the place whence they fell by sin.

St. Zeno

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St. Zeno

Bishop and martyr
(† 380)

Entered in the Roman Martyrology on 12 April as a Bishop of Verona martyred under Gallienus. Probably, however, he was a confessor who governed the Church of Verona from 362-380. At Verona a basilica, San Zenone, is dedicated to his honour, and some thirty churches and chapels bear his name. In the basilica his statue, bearing the episcopal insignia, is prominent in the choir; coins with his likeness and an inscription were in use. On 21 May and 6 Dec. the translation of his body and his consecration were formerly commemorated. In “De viris illust.” of St. Jerome and Gennadius, Zeno is not mentioned, but St. Ambrose (Ep. v) speaks of him as an episcopus sanctae memoriae, and St. Gregory (Dial., III, 19) relates a miracle wrought at the Church of St. Zeno at Verona. Mabillon (“Vetera analecta”, Paris, 1675) published an anonymous poem, “De landibus Veronae”, taken from the writing of Ratherius, Bishop of Verona (d. 974), found in the abbey at Lobbes in Belgium (P.L., XI, 154, 225), which gives a list of the bishops of Verona and makes Zeno eighth. In the Monastery di Classe at Ravenna was found an eighth-century chasuble (casula diptycha) with the names and pictures of thirty-five bishops of Verona on its front and back; among them was that of Zeno. This list was accepted by Gams in his “Series episcoporum” (Bigelmair, p. 27). Zeno had not been known as a writer before 1508, when two Dominicans, Albertus Castellanus and Jacobus de Leuco, edited at Venice 105 tractatus or sermons found in the episcopal library of Verona fifty years earlier. In 1739 the brothers Ballerini published “S. Zenonis episcopi Veronae sermones”, with an elaborate prolegomena. From these it appears that Zeno was a native of Africa, eighth Bishop of Verona (362-80), an able speaker, and an untiring champion of Christianity against the heathens and of orthodoxy against the Arians. Much controversy arose as to the time at which St. Zeno lives, whether two bishops of Verona of this name were to be admitted or but one, and on the authorship of the sermons. Various opinions were held by Sixtus of Siena, Baronius, Ughelli, Dupin, Tillemont, Fabricius, and others. Of the 105 sermons 12 have been rejected as belonging to other authors. Of the rest 16 are larger sermons, the others merely sketches or perhaps fragments. They contain valuable material on Catholic doctrine, practice, and liturgy; they treat of God, creation, the Blessed Virgin, Holy Scripture, the Church, the sacraments, etc., and warn against the vices of the day.

DANIELL in Dict. Christ. Biog., s.v. Zeno (6); BARDENHEWER, Patrologie (Freiburg, 1910), 362; Zeitschrift fur kath. Theol. (Innsbruck, 1884), 233; Acta SS., II April, 68; HURTER, Nomenclator, I (1903), 362; BIGELMAIR, Zeno von Verona (Munster, 1904).

Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini

Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini

Foundress
(1850-1917)

Dear to the hearts of American Catholics in many regions of the United States, Saint Frances Cabrini, foundress of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart, patroness of immigrants, was the first citizen of the United States to be canonized. Born in Lombardy, Italy, the youngest of thirteen children, she was fired with missionary zeal as a little girl, through family reading of the Annals of the Propagation of the Faith. She gave up sweets because she would also be without them in China, where she aspired to go.

She earned a teacher’s certificate and applied to two Orders having missionary houses, but was rejected for reasons of health. Reluctantly, at the request of her bishop, she tried to save an orphanage and make of its staff a religious community, but after six hard years the work collapsed. And Frances, by then thirty years old, initiated her own missionary community with seven of her associates from the orphanage. Bishop Scalabrini suggested they work with Italian immigrants, especially in the United States, as the Congregation of Saint Charles which he had founded was doing; but Mother Cabrini’s heart was set on China. She asked counsel of Pope Leo XIII. Go not to the East, he told her, but to the West.

Founding schools, hospitals and charitable works of every kind, she would cross the ocean thirty times, bringing bands of young Italian Sisters to North and South America. Her amusing community letter, during her second trip to New York, gives a typical picture of these missionary voyages: This morning all the Sisters woke up very ill. Some of them thought they were going to die… Those who trusted my words rose and tried to eat, and presently were looking quite well. The others who thought death was at hand stayed in their rooms awaiting it…

Her letters are filled with the practical motherly instruction of a foundress who knew she was loved and imitated by her Sisters. When you are corrected do not justify yourself. Remain silent and practice virtue, whether you are right or wrong, otherwise we may dream of perfection but will never attain it. (Oct. 17-20, 1892) Love is not loved, my daughters! Love is not loved! (Aug. 21, 1890) Renounce yourselves entirely if you wish to enjoy peace… She who is not holy will make no one holy. (Oct. 17, 1892)

Explaining why she did not accompany some Sisters on a boat excursion she wrote, I admit my weakness, I am afraid of the sea. And if there is no very holy motive in view, I have no courage to go where I fear danger, unless sent by obedience. For then, of course, one’s movements are blessed by God.

Mother Cabrini died at sixty-seven, suddenly and alone in one of her Chicago hospitals, while preparing Christmas presents for 500 children.

Lives of the Saints: Daily Readings, by Augustine Kalberer, O.S.B. (Franciscan Herald Press: Chicago, 1975).