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.
Jeremiah speaks of the king of all the nations asking the question “who would not revere you o king of the nations.” The Messiah is seen as the cornerstone in Isaiah, “behold I will lay a stone as the foundation of Zion, a tested stone, a cornerstone precious and firmly set, if one believes, he will not be shaken.” (Is 28:16) and the psalmist speaks of the rejected stone which became the cornerstone (Ps 117). The unity of the King as the desired of all, and the firm foundation upon which is built the whole of humanity – a uniting between Jew and Greek, slave and free man, male and female for we all become one in Christ.
The petition takes us back to our earthly beginnings, where God fashions us from the mud of the earth, making something beautiful in his own image and likeness, which we deform through our pride and selfish actions. In the coming of the King of all the nations, the one desired by all, the cornerstone of all creation, we can receive back again that dignity lost through the foolish actions of sin, and live through salvation in the light of life.