O Morning Star,
“…splendour of light eternal and sun of righteousness: Come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.
Oriens: the East, the Rising Sun, Dawn, Morning Star, or just Oriens.
Of all the O Antiphons, this one is my favorite one. I really love this one.
These antiphons are prayers, and the first Word is itself a prayer, because that Word is a Biblical name for Christ.
So we have to pronounce it with love, fervor, and full conviction, like this:
Jesus Christ is the Rising Sun, the Dawn of a New Creation, our Hope.
Today’s Antiphon is one of great hope, as the Prophet Isaiah fortold:
“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
Today’s O Antiphon also hearkens to the Eucharist. Consider the Third Eucharistic Prayer, which is commonly used during the Mass in Advent:
“You are indeed Holy, O Lord, and all you have created rightly gives you praise, for through your Son our Lord Jesus Christ, by the power and working of the Holy Spirit, you give life to all things and make them holy, and you never cease to gather a people to yourself, so that from the rising of the sun to its setting a pure sacrifice may be offered to your name.”
That prayer recalls the prophesy of Malachi, one that is fulfilled around the world and around the clock as the Church worldwide celebrates the Eucharist:
“From the rising of the sun to its setting, my name is great among the nations; Incense offerings are made to my name everywhere, and a pure offering; For my name is great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts” — Malachi 1:11
Our Rising Sun is the Holy Lord, present with us always in the Eucharist. Many Churches face the Orient for this reason, so that when we celebrate the Eucharist, we face the rising sun.
Jesus Christ himself is our Orient. The mission of the Church is to orient our lives toward him. The source and summit of our lives in the Church is the Eucharist.
Daily mass is a beautiful thing – to have the grace to witness the dawning presence of our Lord every day and to adore him – especially first thing in the morning.
The daily Mass is especially meaningful to me during Advent. By preparing and looking forward to receiving the Lord each, my preparation for his coming intensifies; as my preparation for his coming intensifies, so does my eagerness to receive him in daily communion.
That’s why I love this antiphon the most. At this point in the Advent season I am bursting, ready to sing…
As with all 7 “O Antiphons,” today’s antiphon invites us to reflect and ponder on our Lord’s long foretold coming and his Incarnation in Mary’s womb. For a brief explanation of the 7 “O Antiphons,” please see our Post on the Christmas Novena, and visit our other posts on the O Antiphons this week:
- December 17: O Sapientia (O Wisdom)
- December 18: O Adonai (O Lord)
- December 19: O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse)
- December 20: O Clavis David (O Key of David)
- December 21: O Oriens (O Dawn)
- December 22: O Rex Gentium (O King of the nations)
- December 23: O Emmanuel (O God is with us)