By Alyssa Bormes

Sunrise by PublicDomainPictures via Pixabay. CCO

“O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death.”

The O Antiphons are a bold prayer! First we speak of Christ in the same way that Isaiah prophesied Him; today that is radiant dawn, splendor of eternal light, and sun of justice. What beautiful names; to take them alone would be a wonderful prayer in which we ponder who it is that is to come.

Then, really pay attention to the boldness of the second part of the prayer. We are beggars before God, and in this prayer the beggar is telling Christ what to do. It’s fantastic! “Come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death.”

First, we are begging Christ to come to us, but of course we are not worthy of it, but how beautiful to wholeheartedly ask anyway. Then, as if coming to us were not enough, we ask Him to shine on us. Actually, if we look at the sentence, it isn’t even asking, it something much more bold; it’s a command.

However, before we think that we are being too demanding with Christ, take a look at the next part, the dwelling in darkness and the shadow of death. To pray this is to admit to being a sinner. In addition, in the prayer we are not saying that the sin is of little consequence; instead it is sin that has led us to darkness and near death.

Then comes the real heart of the prayer. Will we allow the radiant dawn, the splendor of eternal light, the sun of justice to shine on us – the ones who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death? It is a courageous step to allow Him in the whole way.

May we let the Light shine on every single part of our darkness. Then, there will only be a radiant dawn!

About the Author:

Alyssa Bormes is an educator, author, speaker, and retreat leader. She currently teaches at the Chesterton Academy in Edina, Minnesota, writes for the Catholic Spirit, and the W.I.N.E blog, is the host of a weekly show,“Christian Witnesses in the Church,” on Radio Maria US, and is the author of The Catechism of Hockey. You can find her at