WDTPRS The O Antiphons: 21 December – O Oriens

LATIN: O Oriens, splendor lucis aeternae, et sol iustitiae: veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris et umbra mortis.

ENGLISH: O dawn of the east, brightness of light eternal, and sun of justice: come, and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.

Scripture Reference:

Luke 1:78, 79
Malachi 4:2

Relevant verse of  Veni, Veni Emmanuel:

O come, Thou Dayspring, come and cheer,
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.

We are all desperately in need of a Savior, a Redeemer who is capable of ransoming from the darkness of our sins and from the blinding and numbing wound of ignorance from which we all suffer.  In their terrible Fall, our First Parents inflicted grave wounds in the souls of every person who would live after them, except of course – by an act of singular grace – the Mother of God.  Our wills are damaged.  Our intellect is clouded.  In Christ we have the Truth, the sure foundation of what is lasting.  All else, apart from Him fails and fades into dark obscurity.  He brings clarity and light back to our souls when we are baptized or when we return to Him through the sacrament of penance.

At Holy Mass of the ancient Church, Christians would face “East”, at least symbolically, so that they could greet the Coming of the Savior, both in the consecration of the bread and wine and in the expectation of the glorious return of the King of Glory.  They turned to the rising sun who is Justice Itself, whose light will lay bare the truth of our every word, thought and deed in the Final Day.

This is the Solstice day, for the Northern Hemisphere the day which provides us with the least daylight of the year.  From this point onward in the globe’s majestic arc about the sun, we of the north, benefit from increasing warmth and illumination.  It is as if God in His Wisdom, provided within the framework of the cosmos object lessons by which we might come to grasp something of His good plan for our salvation.

Let us turn to the LIGHT, repent our evil ways and habits, and grasp onto Christ in His Holy Church, for as we read in Scripture:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.  He who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  For every one who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.  But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God.”

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4 Responses to WDTPRS The O Antiphons: 21 December – O Oriens

  1. Supertradmum says:

    I grew up with the O Antiphons and we would color the drawings with the words in Latin, in school. This week is so beautiful. In the NO this morning, the first reading was from The Song of Songs. How amazing that God has sought us out, and has made the Church His Bride.

    All of these prayers and readings are like a rich feast for the soul. Thank you, Father.

    I am praying for all my dear SSPX friends, some of whom are those closest to me, that they would see the Light and be part of the Universal Church. I also pray that the Bishops of the SSPX would see Light and come back to the fold. I am separated from some very dear ones because I chose to be obedient to the Church in these matters. Come, Oriens, veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris et umbra mortis.

  2. Simon_GNR says:

    “O come, Thou Dayspring, come and cheer,
    Our spirits by Thine advent here;”

    I think the punctuation is wrong here: to make sense, this should be phrased and sung:

    “O come, Thou Dayspring, come and cheer our spirits by Thine advent here;”,

    remembering to take a large but quick breath after “Dayspring”.

  3. samgr says:

    The motto of the (Calvinist) University of Utrecht in the Netherlands is Sol iustitiae nos illustra. In 1766, when some of its graduates founded what became Rutgers University in New Jersey, they modified the motto to read Sol iustitiae et occidentem illustra, which more recent officials lame-duckly translated as “Sun of righteousness shine also upon the west.” Until its recent rebranding as a football team rather than a school, the university’s official flag bore a large stylized sun surrounded by the Latin motto. As a far I know, no atheist watchdog has ever complained that the state university’s flag bears a symbol of God, not to mention a Divine Epithet from the Latin Mass. Or even noticed.

  4. JacobWall says:

    Notice Zachariah 6:12,13. In the Septuagint, this verse mentions a man named “anatole” (“Sunrise, Day Break” see http://spindleworks.com/septuagint/Zechariah.htm); in the Vulgate, the name is “Oriens.” (According to a footnote I saw in one print edition, the Peshitta seems to use a name with the same meaning.) The two verses complete in the Vulgate are:

    “et loqueris ad eum dicens haec ait Dominus exercituum dicens ecce vir Oriens nomen eius et subter eum orietur et aedificabit templum Domino et ipse extruet templum Domino et ipse portabit gloriam et sedebit et dominabitur super solio suo et erit sacerdos super solio suo et consilium pacis erit inter duos illos”

    In the Douay-Rheims translation it is rendered:

    “And thou shalt speak to him, saying: Thus saith the Lord of hosts, saying: BEHOLD A MAN, THE ORIENT IS HIS NAME: and under him shall he spring up, and shall build a temple to the Lord. Yea, he shall build a temple to the Lord: and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit, and RULE UPON HIS THRONE: and he shall be a priest upon his throne, and the COUNCIL OF PEACE shall be between them both” (My emphasis)

    While there is some similarity to today’s antiphon, with the name of Christ as Oriens, as well as to the verse from “Veni, Veni, Emmanual”, it is especially strong to one other Antiphon I found (from last Sunday of Ordinary Time, Nov. 20, I believe):

    “A man will come whose name is the Dayspring; from his throne he will rule over all; he will speak of peace to the nations.”

    I don’t think I’ve seen anyone make this connection to the verses from Zech. Perhaps it’s because most English translations “correct” the name from “Day Break” to “Branch.” I can’t say much about Hebrew, but I think this is an unfortunate “correction.”