In a Heavenly Light, We Look Upon the World

IN A HEAVENLY LIGHT, WE LOOK UPON THE WORLD

READ:  II Corinthians 4:1-6

“Such by God’s mercy is our ministry, and therefore we do not waver but have renounced all shameful secrecy.  It is not our way to be devious, or to falsify the word of God; instead, in God’s sight we commend ourselves to every human being with a conscience by showing the truth openly.  If our gospel seems to be veiled at all, it is so to.. the unbelievers whose minds have been blinded … so that they can no longer see the shining light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.  It is not our own selves we are proclaiming, but Christ Jesus as the Lord and ourselves as your servants for the cause of Christ.  It is God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ that light has shone into your hearts to enlighten you with the knowledge of God’s glory, the glory on the face of Christ.” – II Corinthians 4:1-6

“God created humankind, male and female, and God created them in the image of God.”
– Genesis 1:27

Thomas a’ Kempis (1380-1471) wrote, “Merciful Lord, enlighten me with a clear, shining, inward Light, and remove all darkness from my heart, guide my many wandering thoughts unto Your holy path.”

 
Enlighten me with a clear, shining inward Light … a most beautiful and significant prayer that we all should pray and pray often … a plea for a Holy Light to come our souls from a pure and holy Source above us, that chases awake the darkness that so confounds us and replaces the darkness with the shining radiance of the Christ who abides deep within us.

Brother ThomasBrother Thomas of Edinburgh is one of our resident artists, a painter in oils and acrylics.  He loves to set up his easel in quiet places here and there in the Cloister and here and there on the Abbey grounds, especially in the most common and everyday of places.  One morning I mentioned to him how it must be challenging to keep finding a suitable subject to paint, a place at Greyfriars’ that is “just right”.    Are you not afraid that you will eventually run out of those places and subjects to paint?”  Brother Thomas thought for a few reflective moments, nearly a minute, then in his accent that still betrays his Scottish boyhood, he answered, “Not as difficult as you might think.  You keep looking for those places that other people see everyday, yet seldom notice.  No, the far more challenging task is to find the right moment … when the light is just right.  In fact, I often paint the very same subject but in a slightly different light.  Yes, it is finding the right light that is the great challenge.”

The contemplative Christian life is about finding that Perfect Light, that Divine Light that enables us to see the image of God in those about us, the image of Christ in each other, and the Presence of God’s Kingdom at work in this world through which we journey.  I fear most of us look at life with either our own limited light or even more sadly, in the colored light that floods into our world from worldly places.  This worldly light blinds us with a certain darkness – call it prejudice, call it greed, call it fear, call it hatred, call it frustration, call it vengeance, call it bitterness, call it pride and self-interest.  We too quickly assume that we clearly see … when, in truth, we truly don’t … for the light we are using is not the pure, ‘just right’, perfect Light that comes only from Heavenly Sources.

One person can look at a crowd and see a clamoring confusion of contrary, conflicted sinners.  Yet, when Brother Thomas and other contemplative souls behold the very same faces … beholding them in a certain Holy Light, they see instead individuals trying to find their way, each having deep within them the image of God, each one a soul in need and each one a saint-in-the-making.

One person can look at a circumstance in life and see a clamoring, confusion of contrary, conflicted sinfulness.  Yet, when Brother Thomas and other contemplative souls look at the very same circumstance … beholding it in a certain Holy Light, they see a place in time where God is trying to chase away the darkness and replace it with the Light of Christ’s Love, a Light that may be but peeking through the clouds, a Light that may only be radiating from a Christian soul trying to be faithful.

Listen carefully to the words you use when you speak of the world about you … are they words that are colored with shades of darkness or are they filled with glorious Light?  Listen carefully to the words you use when you speak about others … are they words colored with shades of darkness or are they filled with glorious Light, the quality of Light that comes only  from Heavenly Sources?

My loved ones, we are to be children of Light, not children of Darkness … we are to be sunrises of hope, not sunsets of doom; we are to be lanterns of grace, not shadows of judgment.

Thomas a’ Kempis (1380-1471) wrote, “Merciful Lord, enlighten me with a clear, shining, inward Light, and remove all darkness from my heart, guide my many wandering thoughts unto Your holy path.”

Pax,

Brother Anthony of the Cross
(jim mcwhinnie)

Visit my poetry site, Willow Words, by clicking www.willowwordspoetry.wordpress.com .
Also visit my new Psalter site for a reading of the Psalms www.thepsalmsbybrotheranthony.wordpress.com

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