“ 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 this “O” Antiphon the three metaphors- the rising Sun, splendour of the eternal light and sun of justice – all symbolise Christ, the Son of God, the promised Messiah whose birth as our Saviour we will celebrate in four days time.

Jesus calls Himself the ‘Light of the World’ in St. John’s Gospel( 9:5) and St. John, in the Prologue says that He is the “ true light who enlightens all men” and “ a light that shines in the dark, a light that darkness could not overpower”.(1:5)

This assurance gives us courage to turn to Christ in our own various darknesses which may be a darkness of : prejudice; lack of compassion; judging and condemning others; resentment; anger; envy; selfishness or the darkness which blinds us to the awareness of our own sins, shortcomings and failures. We acknowledge that we are in great need of light and healing from Christ, the source of light and the singing of this antiphon in a few minutes time will give us the opportunity to turn to Him in earnest prayer asking Him to shed His light on us and on all humanity so that the darkness of sin may be dispelled from our hearts and we may be healed and renewed by His love.

We can call upon the Saints and Blesseds to intercede for us for they mirrored this light of Christ in their own lives, radiated it and reflected it to others. I am thinking especially of Mother Teresa of Calcutta – now Blessed Teresa – whom Jesus asked to be His light to the poorest of the poor.
“Come, be My light”, he said to her. She did become His light and radiated His light and love to others, especially to the poor. Paradoxically while she radiated Christ’s light and love to others she herself experienced a painful spiritual darkness in her inmost being. St. John of the Cross, in explaining this dark night of the soul using the metaphor of the sun, says –“the more one looks at the brilliant sun the more the sun darkens the faculty of sight, deprives it and overwhelms it in its weakness” Similarly, Mother Teresa’s interior darkness was not due to the absence of God but rather to the intense proximate presence of God in her soul, God, whose brightest light is total darkness to us in this life.

In one of her letters to Father van der Peet, she wrote:
“God is in love with us and keeps giving Himself to the world – through you – through me..
May you continue to be the sunshine of His love to your people and thus make your life
something truly beautiful for God.”

This prayer can be directed to each one of us too.

May Mother Teresa, intercede for us now as we call upon the Lord to enlighten us, for she said and promised “If I ever become a saint, I will surely be one of ‘darkness’. I will continually be absent from Heaven, to light the light of those in darkness on earth.”

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.