Wednesday, 21 December 2011

O Oriens

"Gero crucifix“, late 10th century, Cologne Cathedral, Germany
 In Latin the antiphon is:
O Oriens,
splendor lucis aeternae, et sol justitiae:
veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris, et umbra mortis.
or in English:
O Morning Star,
splendour of light eternal and sun of righteousness:
Come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.
(NB: A literal translation of the Latin is "O Rising Sun", but the poetic "O Morning Star" is often preferred.)

Isaiah had written:

"The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness—on them light has shined." Isaiah 9:2

Light from the East.  The direction of the rising Sun, the reason why some of us still prefer to face east when celebrating the Eucharist .  That light which is coming - the Light of the World.File:Hunt Light of the World.jpg                        
This poem offers some food for reflection:
O Oriens Paradiso XXX; 61
First light and then first lines along the east
To touch and brush a sheen of light on water
As though behind the sky itself they traced
The shift and shimmer of another river
Flowing unbidden from its hidden source;
The Day-Spring, the eternal Prima Vera.
Blake saw it too. Dante and Beatrice
Are bathing in it now, away upstream…
So every trace of light begins a grace
In me, a beckoning. The smallest gleam
Is somehow a beginning and a calling;
“Sleeper awake, the darkness was a dream
For you will see the Dayspring at your waking,
Beyond your long last line the dawn is breaking”

Malcolm Guite

May the light ignite in our hearts a new sense of being called to worship, serve and love.

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