O Oriens (December 21)

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Throughout C.S. Lewis’ book The Great Divorce, there is the constant anticipation of the coming dawn, the morning light that will shine on a people who have been looking for illumination all their lives. Throughout the story, we are introduced to characters whose search have brought them to the edge of heaven – theirs to enter if only they’ll turn away from the darkness of sins they so treasure, allowing themselves to be brought to the eternal light, and more importantly, the One who is the source of that light.

I can’t say enough to recommend this brief story (less than 150 pages!) – it is a lovely reflection on the divide between heaven & hell. In the end, we all must choose between being swallowed up in the darkness of their sins or set free to in the light of the new day of the Lord. Perhaps C.S. Lewis was inspired by the Canticle of Zechariah, where the husband of Elizabeth – his lips finally freed at the birth of his son John the Baptist – praises the tender mercy of God and announces the dawn from on high coming to shine on us who live in darkness and the shadow of death.

In today’s antiphon, the Church invites us to turn from the darkness of the world to the light of Christ, the fifth of the O Antiphons: “Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death.” May we invite the Lord to illuminate our hearts and minds such that we recognize where we need Him most, asking Him to drive away all that keeps us from eagerly turning towards the Risen Son.