" O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death."
The references to "darkness and the shadow of death" in yesterday and today's antiphons are quotes, from the prayer of Zechariah after the birth of John the Baptist. (It's found in Luke 1:68-79.) In the translation I know best, the end of it goes:
In the tender compassion of our God
The dawn from on high shall break upon us,
To shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
And to guide our feet into the way of peace.
In the last few days I've learned about a number of people who are literally living "in the shadow of death" -- the son of a friend who has melanoma on his liver (discovered through an X-ray for pneumonia!), an elderly friend who's been on oxygen for years but now can't keep his blood levels up, a woman whose elderly father (who lived with her) just died who has such an intense job that she has no time to grieve. All of these people know and love God, but that doesn't stop them from bearing the weight of the darkness. But God has tender compassion for all of them, and us, and the "dawn from on high" will break. No wonder we await His coming!
I really needed the reminder of last year's wisdom! My trials are smaller -- a cat who no longer is litter trained (he likes my bed), repeated changes of plans, fatigue. But all of this is small stuff, if I can remember the glorious light and power of God. Come, O Radiant Dawn!