A King in Servant’s Clothing

Thursday of the Fourth Week of Advent
December 22, 2022

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our O Antiphon beseeches God, Who is King of All Nations, Who unites Gentile and Jew, to deliver us. 

But from what? 

The answer lies in the closing phrase of the antiphon: “we whom you formed from the dust of the earth”. 

Deliver us from the artificial barriers we have created to separate from and dominate over one another – by nationality, ethnicity, color, gender, social or economic class. We each began as dust and will end that way.  May we be humble, mutual and compassionate in the time between.


Consider the holy humility of Hannah in our first reading today, and of Mary in our Gospel.  They are power figures in Salvation History.  But their power comes from their utter dependence on and honor to God, their only true King.

I prayed for this child, and the LORD granted my request. 
Now I, in turn, give him to the LORD;
as long as he lives, he shall be dedicated to the LORD.”

1 Samuel 1: 27-28

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
        my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
        for he has looked upon his lowly servant.
    From this day all generations will call me blessed:
        the Almighty has done great things for me,
        and holy is his Name.

Luke 1: 46-49

There was no fragmentation in the commitment of their entire lives to God. They understood all Creation to belong to the Divine.

King of Kings, deliver us from any such fragmentation. Make us all whole in You.

O King of all nations
and keystone of the Church:
come and save us,
whom you formed from the dust!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.


Poetry: A King Dressed as a Servant – Rumi

You may interpret Rumi, of course, as you wish. He is deeply mystical and his thoughts don’t always correspond to a logical path. But that’s the real beauty of his poetry. We can put ourselves in his poem and shape it to fit our experience of God. In this poem, Rumi says that we must wait, and be ready, for God’s Love to come to us. And when it does, it will be far beyond anything we expected.

A sweet voice calls out,
"The caravan from Egypt is here!"
A hundred camels with what amazing treasure!

Midnight, a candle and someone quietly
waking me, "Your friend has come."

I spring out of my body, put a ladder
to the roof, and climb up to see if
it's true.

Suddenly, there is a world within this world!
An ocean inside the water jar!
A king sitting with me wearing
the uniform of a servant!
A garden in the chest of the gardener!

I see how love has "thoughts,"
and that these thoughts are circulating
in conversation with majesty.
Let me keep opening this moment
like a dead body reviving.

My teacher saw the Placeless One
and from That, made a place.

Music: O Rex Gentium – Gregorian Chant ( this is a Latin rendering of the italicized prayer above.)

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