Rising SunA reflection given by one of our sisters on today’s Magnificat Antiphon, which addresses Christ as the Rising Sun. (If you prefer to listen, click the ‘play’ button in the box below).

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“O Rising Sun,
you are the splendour of eternal light
and the sun of justice.
O come and enlighten those who sit in darkness
and in the shadow of death.”
In today’s antiphon we contemplate Jesus as the Rising Sun, the eternal light that enlightens us. This is something of a preview; an expression of the divine glory and beauty of the one who is to come, a glimpse of truths that are expanded upon and expressed more deeply and richly in the Mass readings for Christmas Day, particularly in the powerful imagery of the Prologue to John’s Gospel .
Is 52:7 “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of one who brings good news.”
Jn 1 “the light of men, a light that shines in the dark … the true light that enlightens all men … we saw his glory”
This light, beauty and glory is not that of a impersonal, distant, ‘divine absolute’ but of a loving and caring Lord who comes to help and enlighten us, to bring us to share in his life “God is light” (1Jn 1:5).
Christ comes to enlighten us. This is why prayer and contemplation are so important for study and preaching, hence a motto of our Order is: “to contemplate and give others the fruits of our contemplation.” Christ, who is our light, enlightens our minds and guides us to a correct understanding of the truths of the faith; as he said to Peter “flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven” (Mt 16:17). This understanding comes when we “walk in the light” (1Jn 1:7) and that is not always easy:
(Jn 3:19) And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
But we need not despair. As this Antiphon makes clear, I don’t need to laboriously climb to the light of God’s presence by my own efforts – the Son comes and brings his healing and cleansing light into the dark places and sinful deeds of my life. All that I need to do is to welcome Him and be willing to live in the light of his presence. Of course, this influx of light can be painful (think of the pain in you eyes when you go suddenly from a dark room into bright sunlight), nor do we like seeing our selfishness and sinfulness, and so we often prefer to hide from the light (from God’s loving approach) and continue as we are.  

I pray that in this last few days before Christmas may we each have the courage to welcome Christ’s light into our lives, to see ourselves as he sees us and be willing to make whatever changes he is asking of us.