O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice, come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death!
The first words of this prayer in Latin are “O oriens” which can be translated as “O the East” or “O the morning star” or “O the Dawn”. From this Latin word “oriens” we get the English word ‘oriented’ and ‘orientation’. As I reflect on this antiphon I am reminded that we all should be oriented properly in our lives and this proper perspective always has Christ at the center. Christ truly is the only light in our world of darkness. In order to see clearly we need this light of Christ. If we mistakenly believe that we can be happy and live our lives to their fullest without Christ, we are living in an illusion – and an illusion that brings spiritual death.
Is Christ the center of our lives? Do we have a relationship with Christ that includes regular prayer? Are we striving to be faithful, obedient and holy? In all we do, think and say, do we have a Christ-centered perspective that is always based on love, mercy, justice and truth? Are we daily experiencing a deeper and deeper conversion allowing grace to transform us more and more to be like Christ? Do we imitate Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Not my will [Father] but yours be done”? Can we echo St. Paul, “It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives within me” (Gal 2:20)?
We must live in a Christ-centered way in order to be true witnesses of Christ to the world. Jesus was zealous for the salvation of souls and was eager to preach the Good News to all who would listen. Jesus taught others by how He lived His life but also by oral instruction and evangelization. In the same way, when we conform our lives to Christ, we allow His light to shine through us and we become His instruments such that Christ’s mission is able to continue to all those in the world today.
Msgr. Charles Pope shared this beautiful prayer related to this antiphon:
“O come Lord Jesus O Daystar rising in the east, remove whatever hinders us from allowing your light to shine through us. Remove the fear, remove the aversions, cleanse us of our sins, which like soot on the glass does not allow the light to go through. Come Jesus, light of the world shine in this world and through us.”