Tonight, on the shortest day of the year in the Northern hemisphere, we shall address God as light — light that pierces the darkness that envelops us, that darkness itself cannot overcome:
O Oriens, splendor lucis æternæ, et sol justitiæ: veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris, et umbra mortis. O Morning Star, splendour of eternal light and sun of justice, come and illumine those seated in darkness and the shadow of death.
Of all the phrases used in the antiphon, the one i find most encouraging this morning is ‘Sun of Justice’. The reference is to Malachi 4.2 where the rising of the Sun of Justice is linked to healing — and how we all need healing! People sometimes ask whether my illness depresses me, whether knowing I cannot be cured makes me sad. The honest answer is, yes, sometimes it makes me low-spirited, but I am much more concerned about moral failures, about not living a good life. I don’t mean by that anything spectacular — being a nun doesn’t allow much scope for the more spectacular sins — but every time one fails to live up to the gospel, every apparently minor selfishness, is like a wound. Indeed, it is a wound in the soul; and it is the wounds of the soul that our Saviour comes to heal.
Today, when there is so much darkness in the world, let’s not become depressed or anxious. There may be very little we as individuals think we can do, but as members of the Church, members of the Body of Christ, we need have no fear. Tomorrow the earth turns again towards the sun. May it also turn towards the Sun of Justice.