O Oriens

Every Advent, for the past 5 years, St Dominic Parish holds ‘an Evening with the O’Antiphons’.  A service where 7 deacons from the diocese of Joliet come together and reflect on the seven great O’Antiphons.  This year I was given O Oriens

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It is good to see you all are still here. I wasn’t sure how many we would have after the end of the world; for today, at midnight this morning the world ended, and I think we look pretty good for having gone through that.

Though a majority of the people who took a passing interest in this doomsday prediction viewed it as the end of times; there is a group of people who took it as the start of new great things.

This is not the end of the world. This is the beginning of the new world,” Star Johnsen-Moser, an American seer, said at a gathering of hundreds of spiritualists an hour and a half from the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza.  “This is the beginning of a change in priorities and perceptions. We are all one,” said Esther Romo, a Mexico City businesswoman who was there as well. “No limits, no boundaries, no nationalities, just fusion.

Oh, so close, so close; for truly their desires are good, we share them; but they have the wrong guide.  Today, December 21st is a good day to remember newness, rebirth.  To rejoice in the oneness of God’s people and His continued coming among them.

O come, thou Dayspring from on high
and cheer us by thy drawing nigh;
disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
and death’s dark shadow put to flight.

On this winter solstice, the shortest day of the year we proclaim O Oriens, O Daypsring, and remember the newness brought by the Son.  On this day when darkness is at its maximum we are assured that its hold on the earth is passing and daylight starts to grow and retake what darkness has taken. From now on – each day sees the Sun rising earlier in the east, sees light come quicker.  As with the earth so it is within us.  Through the darkness of our lives we turn to the east and strain to see the rising of the eternal Son.  We struggle to see the rays of peace and joy streaking through the darkness of the world and our souls.  We hope for the coming of victory of God’s light over the prince of darkness.

These past few months have been trying times, and this past week our hearts have been wrenched and we have struggled for answers.  But we are a hopeful people because of Christ.  In spite of everything; our hearts know peace because peace has walked among us.  Isaiah had prophesied, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shown.” 2,000 years ago God made good on Isaiah’s prophecy and every day since He continues to show us His great light.

And as a hopeful people every morning we look to the east and rejoice in seeing the cosmic sun rise because it reminds us of the continual rising of the eternal Son to meet us, to heal us.  Each morning we greet the day and Christ with Zechariah’s prayer the ‘Benedictus’ which ends with:

In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness
and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

We are a hopeful people, you and I, for we belong to God, and He has assured us of His love with nothing less than His Son, who comes to us, like the sunrise, especially in every Mass.

O come Son and warm the earth;
O come Son and brighten our lands;
O come Son and shine within our hearts;
O come Son and enlighten your people;
O come Son and we shall reflect your light;
O come Son and be our beacon to eternity;
O come Son of God and fill us with you mercy;
O come Son of my heart and burst forth to those I meet.

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