Friday, January 06, 2006

O Nata Lux

O born Light of light,
Jesus, redeemer of the world,
mercifully deem worthy and accept
the praises and prayers of your supplicants.
Thou who once deigned to be clothed in flesh
for the sake of the lost,
grant us to be made members
of your holy body.

Today is the day of Epiphany, if you follow the Christian calendar. The twelve days of Christmas are over, and I will take down my decorations today.

Today (or probably this coming Sunday), some Christians celebrate the realization that the child born in the manger is the Light of the world. It has to do with the star that led the wise men from the east to Bethlehem. My calendar calls it "the Manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ to the Gentiles," and the service on Sunday is replete with scriptures and songs that use the image of light.

The song above is one of my favorites. If you are looking for beautiful music, get a copy of Morten Loridsen's "Lux Aeterna," which is the context in which I learned this piece. (The very first night my chorus sightread through the music, I cried from the beauty of it.)

Be sure to get a translation of the texts. If you can't, I'll send you one.

The photo is from St. Columba retreat center, a few years ago. That wooden sculpture has since succombed to weather and woodpeckers. The sun won't last forever. Today the Christmas decorations will come down. And someday nothing of our own lives will remain on the earth. But the real "lux aeterna" is, well, eternal light, and I'm thankful.

Grant us to be made members of your holy body.

May we also be wise and follow the light!

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