The Light Shines in the Darkness

Have you heard about the movement to promote dark skies? There is a fear that the growing artificial illumination of the world’s civilizations is making it increasingly difficult to see the magnificent blanket of stars that once illuminated the night sky. A rapidly growing number of human beings will never in their lifetimes be able to view the wonderful piece of creation which is spread over our heads.

At the coming Easter Vigil (in the night of March 26), we will gather in the darkness of the plaza and there bless new fire from which we will light a single, great candle. This paschal candle, newly cast and painted by a parish artist, will be the symbol of the Risen Christ as it is carried through the darkened church. This beautiful work of art – created to be consumed by the relentless journey of a single flame – will stand through the 50 days of the Easter season and at every baptism and funeral in the coming year.  It will be a sign of the victory of Jesus Christ, the Light that darkness itself could not overcome (John 1:5).

There has been a revival of the Star Wars myth, which carries a lot of truth about humanity and our great struggle.The Dark Side, ironically defended by hordes of soldiers clad in blinding white armor, is powerful and threatens at every turn to have the final victory. 

While many Christians flock to see the latest Star Wars installment and root for the New Republic Resistance over the darkness of the First Order, we ironically return from the brightness of the movie screen to lives immersed in the darkness that is not Christ.  We believe that the darkness is easier, but never stronger (see I John 4:4), and yet we claim “human weakness” as our banner.  As St. John described, “the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).

It seems sometimes that we who claim to follow The Light that is Christ are overpowered by the darkness, the dark side.   Sacred Scripture gives us a marvelous comfort as St. Paul cries out:  “thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!”(I Corinthians 15:57).  A great 19th century American, born into the evil of slavery, summed it up powerfully:  “I will not allow my life’s light to be determined by the darkness around me” (Sojourner Truth).

As you continue the Lenten journey – whether you have kept a good Lent or not – choose the Light.   Select one small piece of darkness in your life and, by prayer and surrender, give it over to the Light…