Jesus

We are…God knows, a people who walk in darkness. There seems little need to explain. If darkness is meant to suggest a world where nobody can see very well — either themselves, or each other, or where they are heading, or even where they are standing at the moment; if darkness is meant to convey a sense of uncertainty, of being lost, of being afraid; if darkness suggests conflict, conflict between races, between nations, between individuals all pretty much out for themselves when you come right down to it; then we live in a world that knows much about darkness. Darkness is what our newspapers are about. Darkness is what most of our best contemporary literature is about. Darkness fills the skies over our own cities no less than over the cities of our enemies. And in our single lives, we know much about darkness too. If we are people who pray, darkness is apt to be a lot of what our prayers are about. If we are people who do not pray, it is apt to be darkness in one form or another that has stopped our mouths.

Frederick Buechner, Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons, “Come and See”

 

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I

This description of darkness sounds all too familiar to me.

I have an impulse to turn away from it, to not dwell on it lest it engulf me (as it has so many times).

I have a reluctance to admit how easily it can engulf me and for how long.

To be honest, I fear the depression it can bring on and how helpless I can feel in the throes of it.

I don’t want to risk feeling that dark, that hopeless, again.

II

God is Light.

Light doesn’t turn away from darkness.

It pierces it and exposes everything in it.

It looks into every corner to find what might be lost, to nourish what might be starving, to bring order where there is disorder, to give sight where there is blindness.

The darkness does not taint it, does not overcome it.

Light feels anguish at what it finds in the dark; anguish that breaks the heart and sweats blood.

Anguish is Love encountering the beloved in darkness; Light suffers anguish because the beloved is worth it.

Light, because of its anguish, brings warmth and hope and joy to the one engulfed in darkness.

III

God in me, with me, is that Light.

God in us, with us – Immanuel! – is that Light, doing even greater things through us, the many, who are following Him, the One.

The land once covered in darkness has seen a great light.

The land now covered in darkness can see a great light – if I, if we, follow the One in not turning away from it.

Come, Lord Jesus, come!

Grace and peace to you…

dw

The Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes those we don’t approve of and eats with them.”

And Jesus told them…”I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one person you don’t approve of who repents than over ninety-nine people you approve of who need no repentance.”

Luke 15

* My paraphrase, substituting for the words ‘sinners’ and ‘righteous persons’.

We who are disapproved are prized by the One who was disapproved.

We who are approved (and thus one with the disapprovers) miss out on the joy of heaven.

Lord, have mercy on us!

dw

p.s. My friend Samuel, one of the disapproved, is safe in Mexico with people who love him and care for him , including his son (!). God’s loving-kindness knows no borders and no bounds.

I am not a Roman Catholic; reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church is not something that would have ever occurred to me to do. But I kept running into Catholic writers, one after another, who wrote about faith and life with a richness I hadn’t seen before: Walker Percy, Flannery O’Connor, Thomas Merton, James Martin, and Jean Vanier to name a few.  So I spent several years looking into Roman Catholicism in depth, which included reading through the Catechism…twice.

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Eternal Father, I offer you

the body and the blood, soul and divinity
of your dearly beloved Son,
our Lord, Jesus Christ,
in atonement for our sins
and those of the whole world.
For the sake of His sorrowful passion
have mercy on us and on the whole world.

Holy God,
holy Mighty One,
holy Immortal One,
have mercy on us and on the whole world.

— Divine Mercy Chaplet

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You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

— Matthew 5:14-16, NRSV Bible with Apocrypha

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