21st December - O Rising Sun
Published by Dominican Nuns Ireland in Reflections (Other) · 21 December 2022
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 the shadow of death.
I chose this antiphon for my reflection because I have been following the image of light versus darkness during Advent this year. I felt drawn to this image because the world seems to be a very dark place at present and I needed to make my home in the Word of God, so as not to be sucked in to its mindset. The Word of God reassures me that ‘a light shines in the darkness, a light which the darkness cannot over shadow.’ I think our minds are a place through which Jesus may enter our world. How we are in our world has an influence on it .We have an apostolic and evangelizing duty as it were to be a prophetic mind, voice and heart. We are invited by God’s Word to be a people of hope because we know that the victory has been won. Darkness has been defeated. We are to be people of joy because Jesus has dispersed the gloomy clouds of night and deaths dark shadow is put to flight. The document on Divine Revelation of Vatican 11 reminds us that:
the tradition which comes from the Apostles develops in the Church with the help of the Holy Spirit. For there is a growth in the understanding of the realities and the words which have been handed down. This happens through the contemplation and study made by believers, who treasure these things in their hearts (see Luke, 2:19, 51) and through a penetrating understanding of the spiritual realities which they experience. For as the centuries succeed one another, the Church constantly moves forward toward the fullness of divine truth until the words of God reach their complete fulfillment in her.
My own inner journey, my willingness to allow the light of Christ penetrate the dark hidden places of my heart is my contribution to the dispelling of darkness. There is that beautiful antiphon in the Advent Liturgy ‘The lord will come without delay. He will bring to light what darkness hides and he will reveal himself to all the Nations’. If i invite him in not only will I see myself more clearly in his Light, but what has been striking me is that I will also see Him more clearly. If someone comes into a darkened room we are not sure who they are but the light which when switched on reveals us reveals them more clearly too. O happy darkness, o happy hidden aspects of myself , there is no longer any need to fear you, through you Jesus can be revealed to me.
There is a very graphic image in the Book of wisdom depicting or foretelling the coming of Jesus. It is well known to us all
When midnight silence reigned over all and the night was yet half spent your Almighty Word Lord leapt from his Royal Throne.
It is a very visual image, easily conjuring up Christmas scenes- the silence of a bleak December night. You almost feel the atmosphere- dark thoughts flooding in,- the outer darkness somehow awakening all the inner darkness which the hustle and bustle of the day keeps in the shadows. And the suddenly , unexpectedly, just as you are about to be engulfed in darkness, the world is set alight. Light shatters the darknes. Darkness is actually no longer there. Night stops its course. Just like that, the half spent night both inner and outer is stopped in its course. I have been trying to sit daily with this powerful image, longing for the truth it contains to take hold of me. For this is in fact what happens on Christmas night and any night in which we allow the light of Christ in to dissipate our darkness is Christmas - the night in which Christ is born again into our world
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