Below is the text of a reflection given by one of our sisters on yesterday’s Magnificat Antiphon, which invokes Christ as the Rising Sun. (If you prefer to listen, click the ‘play’ button in the box below).

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.

By living in Ireland I have learned to see the Sun, even if it is raining. Our whole business in this life is to restore to health the eye of the heart whereby God can be seen.
Each of the antiphons contains the words “O” and “COME”, expressive of longing, pleading, heart-felt desire. In them we beg God to BE with us and SAVE us.
The longing for God expressed in the antiphons is the pale human shadow of God’s longing for us. They are based on words in the Bible which promise exactly that, or even state that God has already COME and delivered us.
The petition ‘’Come and enlighten those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death’’ echoes the Christmas reading ’’they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shone’’ ‘’The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light’’(Is 9:2)
‘’God is light’’(1Jn 1:5). And every light we know, whether a candle, or sun will eventually burn itself out in self giving. Light from light (cf. Jn 1 ) ‘’God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son,so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost but may have eternal life’’ (Jn 3:16)
Today’s antiphon brings out a special aspect of the light of Christ by its use of the word Oriens / rising Sun / day-spring / dawn. It is new light, light after darkness, light which has conquered darkness.
Jesus is the dawn which we long for above all things. He is the new light that fills us with hope, putting to flight the darkness of despair, bringing us to communion with God. It is important to look at the context in which Jesus calls himself “the Light of the world” in John’s Gospel (Jn 8:1-12). “Early in the morning Jesus arrived again in the temple area…Then scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle…Jesus straightened up and said to her, ‘Woman,where are they? Has no one condemned you?’. She replied ‘No one, sir.’ Then Jesus said ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more’.” Jesus spoke to them again, saying “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life”. This happens in the early morning. There is still darkness, the darkness of judgment and injustice. Jesus comes into this darkened world as LIGHT. His mercy enlightens the darkness.
Dwelling in the light of Christ, we are transformed by that light, so that we become what our baptism declared us to be, the children of light. By baptism we become the light within the LIGHT, who is Christ, just as Christ is “Light from Light”. Once a rabbi asked his students, “How can you tell day from night?” The first student answered “When you look at a person walking in the distance and can tell whether it’s a man or a woman, it’s day”. The second student answered, “When you look at a tree and can tell whether the fruit on it is an orange or a grapefruit, it’s day”. The third student answered, “When you look at a string of thread held at arm’s length and can tell what colour it is, it’s day”. Then the students asked the rabbi the same question. He answered, “When you look at a man or woman and recognise that person as a brother or sister, it’s day. But if you look at a man or a woman, and do not recognise them as a brother or sister, it’s night, no matter what time it is.”
Love brings light and it is in God’s light we see light. Come JESUS, Come and in the midst of our darkness show us the Fathers Love.