O Oriens


The fifth great “O” is: 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.

It reflects the following prophecies and Scripture:

O dawn of the east, brightness of light eternal, and sun of justice:

  • desert_sunriseBut unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. Malachi 4:2 The sun which is righteousness, who radiates the healing rays of salvation. This Divine righteousness shall shine forth upon them that live in holy fear of the the Name of God, filling and flooding them with joy and light, healing all wounds, removing all miseries, making them incalculably blessed. The Fathers generally apply the title of “Sun of Righteousness” to Christ, who is the Source of all justification and enlightenment and happiness, and who is called  “The Lord our Righteousness.” (Jeremiah 23:6)
    The happiness of the righteous is illustrated by a homely image drawn from pastoral pursuits. They had been, as it were, hidden in the time of affliction and temptation; they shall go forth boldly now, free and exulting, like calves driven from the stall to pasture (comp. Psalm 114:4, 6; Song of Solomon 2:8, 17).
  • Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, Luke 1:78 So praises Zacharias in his noble hymn, all this tender care for Israel (though really for all humanity, if he hadn’t guessed it) is owing to the deep love of God. Whereby “the Dayspring from on high hath visited us.” In his temple service at Jerusalem the priest must have seen the ruddy dawn rise grandly over the dark chain of the distant mountains, and lighting up with a blaze of golden glory the everlasting hills as they stood around Jerusalem. This same thought has ever been held by the Church who in her worship bids us face East towards the Lord. The thought which pictured the advent of Messiah as a sunrise was a favourite with the prophets, “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For behold… Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of the; rising” (Isaiah 60:1-3). “Unto you that fear my Name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in his wings” (Malachi 4:2).

come, and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.

  • walkedindarknessThe people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. Isaiah 9:2 All the world was “in darkness” when Christ came; but here the Jews especially seem to be intended. “The Light of the world,” “the Sun of righteousness,” “the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world,” “first broke on man in that northern tract” by the way of the sea, “when Jesus came forward to teach and to preach in “Galilee of the Gentiles.” For thirty years He had dwelt at Nazareth, in Zebulon. There He had first come forward to teach in a synagogue (Luke 4:16-21); in Galilee He had performed His first miracles (John 2:11; John 4:54); at Capernaum. “Upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim,” He commenced His preaching of repentance (Matthew 4:13-17). The “light” first streamed forth in this quarter, glorifying the region on which contempt had long been poured, before bursting forth across the world, through the rays of the apostolic mission reaching through the ages to every quarter of the globe through their preaching of the Gospel.


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