Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

O Radiant Dawn ~ December 21

A Quiet Prairie Dawn ~ Photo by Christopher Martin 

O Radiant Dawn, you are the splendor of eternal light and the sun of justice. O come and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.

When we say the word dawn these days I'm afraid we're more apt to think of a liquid dish-washing detergent than the daily wonder Christopher Martin has captured in his magical photo here. 

Today's O Antiphon calls the long-awaited Messiah not just Dawn, but Radiant Dawn. When something is radiant it has infusing energies that can get inside me. I don't want to be just a religious admirer - I want to be infused.

Dawn of course is the start of the new day. But in that new day there is the transformation of what is familiar - perhaps so familiar it is taken for granted. 

Someone has a house on the beach looking out often at the familiar horizon. But the dawn transforms that familiar horizon such that each morning horizon is new and unique and will never be repeated in exactly that way.  Essential to understanding the word dawn, is that the familiar becomes something new.

  • Someone is coming out of depression - there is a new day dawning.
  • A couple marries and begins a family - there is a new day dawning.
  • We might make a serious mistake, amends are made, forgiveness extended and received - a   new day is dawning.
  • At about age 6 or 7 the marks on the page become words and suddenly we're reading - a new day has dawned.
  • Learning how to ride a bike or drive a car - a new day is dawning.
  • Beating cancer or some other life-threatening illness - a new day is dawning.

Some people call themselves "Christian" simply because they've been raised that way - like falling into line. But for another, a day comes when I consciously choose Jesus, because life no longer makes sense or is bearable, without trusting his nearness and the light he brings.

The familiar thing of my life begins a transformation - nothing is ever again the same: I think differently about myself and others. I speak and act differently. I feel differently. I begin to relate and prioritize differently. How I look upon the world, how I sense, even my consciousness is different now. O Radiant Dawn!


  1. Today is the Winter Solstice. Tomorrow the dawn will seem magically brighter as the day will be longer. It is a good time to think about a new dawning of the heart and mind. I can only hope that nothing will be the same, an I am looking here for new horizons to seek. O Radiant Dawn!

    1. Yes, and the Church, not knowing when the actual birth of Jesus took place, put that birth on the calendar very near this Winter Solstice, bearing witness to Jesus, who calls himself the Light, as the light in the sky is reborn. It's very wonderful. Bless you these O Antiphon days and Happy Christmas.