Today’s antiphon, recited on December 21st is called “O Oriens”.


O Oriens,
splendor lucis aeternae, et sol justitiae:
veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris, et umbra mortis.


O Rising Sun,
splendour of light eternal and sun of righteousness:
Come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

As we near the birth of Christ our Savior, a light will rise in the east and enlighten us who dwell in darkness and despair. “Oriens” is often translated as “Rising Star“. I believe the translators may have gotten their inspiration on the story of the Magi as recounted in the second chapter of Matthew. This event is more traditionally known as the “Epiphany” in which is finally became known to the world that the King of the Jews, the Messiah, was born. It is traditionally celebrated on January 6th and if time permits I will write a separate posting on that when the time comes.

If we go back to this Antiphon and the Scripture references it contains, it is a wider collection of passages than one firm reference to Isaiah. In Isaiah 9:2, the prophet predicts that:

The people who walk in darkness
Will see a great light;
Those who live in a dark land,
The light will shine on them.

But we can find separate reference to each one of the titles used here in the passage troughout Scripture. The last verse I believe is a reference to Psalm 107, especially v 14 where we read that:

He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and burst their bonds apart.

Finally, it is no wonder that on December 21st, the winter solstice, we long for the coming dawn, both physically and spiritually. As today is the shortest day and longest night of the solar year, the writers of the O Antiphon reminds us that a light is coming. But more importantly than a physical lengthening of the days, we have a Spiritual light coming that will shine forever and deliver us out of our darkness and fallen state.

As we look forward to His coming, let’s remind us that there is a second coming that will remove darkness forever and re-establish God’s Kingdom on earth. That is the  ultimate and final hope of the Christian. To be able to live in the new creation, walking side-by-side with Him and be able to Worship him daily.

We can start now by worshipping Him daily in all we do !

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Col 3:17, ESV)


Ackowledgements and for more information:
Fr, William Saunders, What are the “O Antiphons”
Catholic Culture: The O Antiphons
The Crossroads Initiative: The great “O Antiphons of Advent”

Image courtesy of Catholic Culture