Archive for radiant dawn

O Radiant Dawn: Come, Creator of Light

Posted in Advent, O Antiphons, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on December 21, 2012 by Daniel P. Horan, OFM

Space sunriseO Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: Come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

The name “Creator of Light” has always been one of my favorite names for God. I remember first reading and loving a children’s book titled, In God’s Name by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso and illustrated by Phoebe Stone, a few years ago that presents a number of children and adults and talks about the various ways each person, given his or her cultural, work, and familial histories, named God. The book begins:

After God created the world
all living things on earth
were given a name.
The plants and the trees,
the animals and the fish
and each person,
young and old,
had a special name.

But no one knew
the name for God.

So each person searched
for God’s name.

With beautiful and bright illustrations, the book continues with a short glance into the worlds of different people who, as it would happen, name God based on his or her context and location. The first example is:

The farmer
whose skin was dark
like the rich brown earth
from which all things grew
called God
Source of Life.

Another example later on shows a soldier sitting under a tree and embracing a saddened lion while surrounded by Poppies. The soldier is crying.

The tired soldier who fought too many wars
called God
Maker of Peace.

I really love this book, for it helps identify an existential truth of our historical situation, something that so many religious leaders and believers choose not to accept: our names for God are at one-and-the-same-time helpful and true, while also inadequate and human. Yes, as it is sometimes argued, we have revealed names for God — the Bible is full of them. Nevertheless, the God of our ancestors, the God of Jesus Christ is also far beyond any of the human language in which the Scriptures is cast and by which we express our faith.

My favorite name for God in this book, is Creator of Light, which is given by “the girl whose skin was as golden as the sun that turned night into day.” One does not need to have skin the color of the sun — everybody knows that my Irish-American skin is anything but that — to appreciate the significance, beauty, and awe that comes with the move from night into day.

Furthermore, the Creator of Light is already also the Source of Life as we know so well from our knowledge of biology. Without the sun, without light, we would have no existence, and for this gift of life and light, we are grateful.

The coming of Christ announced in today’s O Antiphon points to this truth, the truth in a physical way and in a spiritual way, if such a distinction really can be made. Light gives life, but it also uncovers and makes known the injustice of our world, gives hope to those in the dark shadows of death, and offers us the promise of a future, of something more, of a breaking dawn.

Photo: Stock

O Radiant Dawn: Shine Justice in Our Hearts

Posted in O Antiphons with tags , , , , , on December 21, 2010 by Daniel P. Horan, OFM

O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: Come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

What does it mean to be the sun of justice? What do the rays of such a sun look like? What sort of warmth do such rays feel like on the skin of those who dwell in darkness?

Like the rest of the O Antiphons, today’s line is rooted in the prophecy of Isaiah, who once proclaimed: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; Upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone.” (Is 9:1) This light is not simply a touchy-feely glow or a fluffy sense of the spiritual, but is a deeply rich and powerful sign of God’s embrace of powerless, marginalized and forgotten.

Who are the ones who live in today’s darkness? These are the ones to whom the Good News of Christ’s coming is directed. The Advent, the hopeful-waiting of this season is the anticipatory sense that justice and peace are on the way. With the birth of Christ comes the decisive revelation of God’s reign. As Mary brought Christ to birth to fulfill the prophecy of Emanuel — God with us — so too we are called to bring Christ to birth today, and everyday.

We bring Christ to birth when we reflect those rays of justice that shine on those who live in the darkness of our society and world. We bring Christ to birth when those most marginalized by cultural intolerance, hatred and discrimination are welcomed into the warmth of God’s eternal light. We bring Christ to birth when no one is excluded from the table of thanksgiving, the community of faith or access to all societal rights. We bring Christ to birth when we embrace others as Christ did — with love, peace and justice.

It’s not easy and at times it is messy, but we can rest assured that we will be strengthened by the prophetic “solar power” of the radiant dawn’s justice in our hearts.

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