Hear me groping in these glooms, Lord, and stretch forth your hand to me. Shed your light on me, call me back from my wanderings. Bring yourself into me so that I may in the same way return to you. Amen.
-St. Augustine of Hippo, 4th Century
St. Augustine understood the importance, tough as it can be, to let God shine the light on him. This is a powerful image on many levels. One very basic we may view this is with a simple observation: when we are in the sunlight, the more pronounced our shadow becomes. If we are in darkness, then our shadows blend in with the lack of light around us. If we walk from darkness into a bright, sunny day, our shadow becomes apparent immediately.
One of the disciplines of Lent is to seek to walk into the sunlight or, in our case, we may refer to it as the “Son Light”, the light of Christ’s love. This is not always easy to do. We sometimes are invited (and at other times practically forced) to look at our own darkness when we behold the light of God’s love. When that happens, however, rather than letting it be an opportunity for shame or self-incrimination, a better way to view it is to see this as a new beginning. Once those things we consign to darkness or shadow status in our lives are brought into the light of truth, the light of God’s love, they are rarely as frightening, overwhelming or intimidating as they might seem to us. In fact, most of our sin, our experiences of darkness, those things we are ashamed of or that we run from, are pretty boring, and often times sad – really sort of a variation on a theme. The basic theme is that we try, again and again, to fill up an empty place inside of us with whatever we believe is going to make us happy, free, loved, complete, or content. It is God’s good desire to save us, raise us up, and bring us to new life in Christ. All we have to do is lay down our old lives and embrace a new life in Christ! Easier written than done, true, but living in the light of Christ’s love and seeing all of our decisions, actions, attitudes and values in light of that love, is a great first step.
Let us pray to welcome the light of Christ’s love into all the areas of our life, and let us humbly ask for the grace to walk in that light always.