O Shining Light
Old English Meditations for Advent and Christmastide
Jacob & Mamie Riyeff
“Sometimes the best way to renew the present is to delve into the past—delve deeply, let’s say, a thousand years. If your liturgical interest in vernacular English is flagging, this treasure trove buried in the ancient Book of Exeter is sure to dazzle. Lifted from the oldest anthology of English lyrics, this masterful rendition of The Advent Lyrics updates and preserves the charm and freshness of the original Old English. Here is liturgical vernacular of the first waters!
In the final days of Advent a haunting series of antiphons are sung, each beginning with an expressive invocation of longing—O! This is followed by some title of Christ. Each day brings some new title, some facet of the one we are awaiting. These O Antiphons count down the last days of Advent and build up an ever-richer understanding of the mystery to come.
With use over the years they have become ever more beloved to me, and my mind hungers for a fuller expansion on the content. That is precisely what is offered by the early Anglo-Saxon monks in this poem from their tenth-century collection. Here blows a fresh wind from a time when faith was simpler, more direct and immediate.
For those who are seeking Advent reading, this volume provides reflections from another era and, more than that, a joining in faith and communion with people from a millennium ago.”
Br. Paul Quenon, OCSO
Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani
This collection of Advent O Antiphons comes in a modern English version that retains both the timbre and the poetic technique of the original, together with a commentary that breaks open their devotional riches for personal or group reflection.
Jacob Riyeff is a translator, poet, editor, and scholar who teaches in the English department at Marquette University. His work is centred on the western contemplative tradition from the early medieval period to the present day. Jacob is a Benedictine oblate of Osage Deanery and lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Mamie Riyeff is a Family Ministry Coordinator at Three Holy Women Parish and catechist for Uplift Families in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She lives on Milwaukee’s Lower East Side with Jacob and their three children and is an avid hiker and bird watcher.
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