21 December 2006

O Oriens!

Today we call Christ the "Oriens," the rising brightness, the dawn. The Latin verb "orior" literally means "to rise up" or "to be born" and, used substantively, it has come to signify the rising of the sun in the east.

O Oriens, splendor lucis aeternae et sol iustitiae: Veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris et umbra mortis.
O Rising brightness of everlasting light and Sun of justice: come and enlighten those sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death.
The word "oriens" as the place where the sun rises, the east, is responsible for the less than politically correct adjective - once popular - referring to things Asian: oriental. It meant, simply, from the east. Today, "orientation" has become synonymous for "direction" but, in a more accurate reading, it really means a turning to the east, a turning to the rising sun, a turning to Christ.
Let us turn ourselves to the east, to the Rising brightness who comes to the hearts of the faithful who seek him. When He comes, let Him find us neither unprepared nor afraid, like those who, squinting, miss the splendor of the sunrise. Let us greet the Rising dawn with words of praise and grateful hearts. Come, Lord Jesus.

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