O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: Come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death!
We ask Christ to enlighten us by His coming. Who are they who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death? Pagans and unbelievers, sinners and atheists. But also in us \” the Faithful\” there is still much darkness much of death\’s shadow. Open your soul and let the divine light shine in! -Abbot Guerager OSB (19th c Abbot of Solesmes Abbey for nearly 40 years) He is considered the \”grandfather\” of the 20th c Liturgical Movement; The Liturgical Year Advent
|Photo of a detail of the reredos in the National Cathedral, Washington, DC, by Fr. Lawrence Lew, OP|
It is especially fitting that we pray this antiphon today, on the Winter Solstice. Today is the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. This title of Christ, Oriens, means daybreak, dawn, sunrise, the East, the beginning. The O antiphon for Dec. 21th begins by addressing our Savior as O Oriens, O Dayspring or Dawn rising from the East.
Oriens when translated from the Latin of today\’s antiphon is understood as meaning Radiant Dawn, Rising Sun, or Dayspring from on High. \”All beautifully express the idea of light shattering the darkness of night, of sin and death, of sickness and despair, with its brightness bringing healing and warmth to cold hearts. Jesus is indeed the true light, the radiance of his Father\’s splendor. The church prays this petition daily in the Benedictus, joining in the words of Zechariah: \”He, the Dayspring, shall visit us in his mercy to shine on those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death\”(Luke 1:78-79).
Today is also an Ember Day on which our Bishop, Joseph Strickland, has encouraged everyone in our Tyler diocese to pray and make sacrifices in reparation for the crisis within the Church. Let us pray especially for all \”those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death\”. Those who live in the darkness of sin, ignorance of our Catholic faith; the darkness of addictions, depression, loneliness and misery. Those who dwell in the shadow of death, physical death in which they should prepare themselves to meet God; those in the death of mortal sin; the death of insanity.
Come Lord Jesus and shine the Light of your Love upon us all.