O Rising Sun - 'O Antiphon' for the 21st of December
Published by Dominican Nuns Ireland in Reflections (Other) · 21 December 2020
O Rising Sun
You are the Splendour of Eternal Light
and the Sun of Justice
come and enlighten those who sit in darkness and
in the shadow of death.
A few day ago one of our Sisters showed me a photo of some Canadian square with a Christmas tree. We were shocked by the thousand of electrical lamps in that square, shining all around. I ponder if people seeking for light, does this light help them to find a real happiness? Today there is less faith in the world but more people seeking to switch-on lights.
Day by day we encounter the world of visible things. Yet the truth is that what is invisible is greater and much more valuable than anything visible.
"One single soul," in Pascal’s beautiful words, "is worth more than the entire visible universe. But in order to have a living awareness of this, we need conversion, we need to turn around inside, as it were, to overcome the illusion of what is visible, and to develop the feeling, the ears and the eyes, for what is invisible. This has to be more important than anything that bombards us day after day with such exaggerated urgency."
The words of St. Augustine come to my mind: "You made us for yourself,and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you’. This restlessness of heart is born of the profound intuition that it is God himself who takes the initiative; he seeks out men and women and mysteriously draws them to himself.
In Christmas we will meet the tenderness and love of God who bows down to our limitations, weaknesses, sins and humbles himself down to us. Let us look at the grotto in Bethlehem: God humbles himself in a manger, which is already a prelude to humility at the hour of his passion. The culmination of the history of love between God and man passes through the manger in Bethlehem and the tomb in Jerusalem.
"The Bethlehem event must be considered in the light of his pashal mystery: both are part of Christ's redemptive work. The incarnation and birth of Jesus already invite us to fix our gaze on his death and resurrection: both Christmas and Easter are feasts of redemption. Easter celebrates it as a victory over sin and death: it marks the final moment when the glory of God-man shines like the light of day; Christmas celebrates it as God's entry into history by becoming man in order to lead man to God: it means, so to speak, the opening moment, when one can barely sense the glow of the dawn. But just as the dawn precedes and already announces the light of day, so Christmas already announces the cross and the glory of the resurrection." (p.Benedict XVI).
Indeed, while Easter falls at the beginning of spring, when the sun overcomes the dense and cold mists and renews the face of the earth, Christmas comes precisely at middle of winter, when the light and warmth of the sun cannot awaken nature, shrouded in cold, but under the cover of which life pulsates and the victory of the sun and warmth begins anew.
We hope, not because we can see light, but because we trust in another to be light for us, that other is Jesus.
God is really so close to each of us and especially in these epidemic times and He wants to meet us, He wants to lead us to Himself. He is the true light that diffuses and dispels the darkness that surrounds our lives and all humanity.
Come Lord Jesus, and touch us by the power
of your healing rays.
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