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Many years ago, when I was living in the English countryside, I experienced a very special sunrise which struck me as being the very kiss of God Himself. It was midsummer. At that time of year in England the sun rises before 5 am and it begins to get light quite some time before that.
I couldn’t sleep. The morning was just beginning to suggest itself. The gloom became the gloaming. I decided to rise and greet the dawn.
The house in which I was living backed onto fields so it was a very short walk into the midst of the countryside.
Even the birds had not yet risen and their dawn chorus was yet to begin. The silence silenced the soul. Nothing stirred except the gentlest of breezes singing softly in the grass.
As the gloaming gladdened into the first suggestion of daylight, I looked up to the heavens. The few clouds clustered in the gloom-laden grey of the night turned rose-coloured. It was as though the sky itself was full of burning embers.
Then the sun rose above the horizon. It was a disk of pure snow. It reminded me of the elevation of the host at holy Mass. Christ was rising with the day. The resurrection of the light. I gazed in adoration, not of the sun itself but of the Son who gives us the sun.
As I looked on the snowy splendor with the naked eye, the disk turned red and the sky bled red across the full panoramic sweep of the heavens. The Body of Christ was united with the Blood of Christ! And then the sun turned gold and I had to avert my gaze from its glaring glory. As if on cue, the birds had begun chiming their dawn chorus in praise of the newborn day and one could imagine the angels singing with them.
There seemed only one way to thank God for this epiphanous kiss of beauty. Distilling the still-fresh memory into verse, I wrote a poem, “Solstice Sunrise,” as my own small offering to the glory of the miraculous gift I’d been given. The poem is not worthy of such a blessing, nor am I. We are given so much more than we deserve. God be praised!
This is part of the series called “The Human Being Fully Alive” found here.