O Radiant Dawn
The Responsorial Psalm calls us to: “Exult, you just, in the Lord! Sing to him a new song.” We exult because
“our soul waits for the Lord…” with deep longing, and he is given to us (Psalm 33).
Song of Songs 2: 8-14 is a poem of desire between lover and beloved. She awaits; he invites: “Arise, my love, my dove, my beautiful one, and come!... See, the winter is past, the rains are over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth.”
Advent is a time of triple expectation: we await the celebration of Christ’s coming to earth at Christmas; we await his coming in glory at the end of the world; and we await his coming for us, as lover to beloved, at the moment of our death.
No one of these expectations makes sense without the other. They are all elements of a single desire: the desire for union with God, for whom we were made, for union with Jesus Christ who came to make this union possible, for union with him now and forever, in life and in death.
The liturgy encourages us, who are the beloved, to “Exult in the Lord! Sing to him a new song,” because he comes. Our hearts say, “Let me see you, let me hear your voice. For your voice is sweet….”
Luke 1: 39-45 brings this expectation into focus in daily life. Jesus comes to us constantly, daily, in the form of inspirations, movements of heart, encounters with him present in other people, speaking to us in them, through the Scriptures, through experiences in our family and social life, at work and at school. He is like the “Radiant dawn” (O Antiphon): the same eternal light, shining as new and different every day through different people and events.
We recognize him when our hearts “leap for joy.” The leap may be a tiny skip, a brief second of feeling loved, of perceiving truth or beauty. Then, if we are aware that this is a response to the divine presence, we say like Elizabeth, “How does this happen to me,” that the voice, the touch, the beauty “of my Lord should come to me?” Then our hearts “Exult in the Lord” more than “sentinels in the dawn” (see Psalm 130).
Initiative: If you want to live life to the full, be Christ! Keep yourself aware that Christ is in you, speaking through you, showing love to others through you. If you remain aware of his presence in you, you will experience his presence in others.