Reflections

 

 

 

 

Looking Back, Looking Forward

In Roman mythology, the two-faced god Janus looked toward the past and looked to the future. And so do we as we take stock of the year gone by, giving thanks, and setting some direction, perhaps for personal improvement, for the future. PBS news identified a dozen events that were good news in 2016! How many good news events have you identified in your year?

We may recall some paradoxes as did Dickens in naming the revolutionary era of The Tale of Two Cities, which he characterized as the best of times and the worst of times. St. Augustine expressed his assessment of his times pairing realism with Christian hope.

People say these are bad times.
But WE are our times!
Let us live better and our times will be better.

This would seem to echo Gandhi’s, “Be the change you want to see in the world,” as well as St. Paul’s tension between what has come to be and the not yet.

Symbolically, in this liturgical season, the paradoxes are imagined in the contrasts between light and dark. In these days of shorter extent of daylight, hear Christ saying: I am waiting for you in the darkness, the darkness of imperfection, failure, suffering, loneliness, abandonment, helplessness.

I’ve been waiting for you in the darkness to see everything as part of the Mystery of My Divine Compassion. I’ve been waiting for you in the darkness because perhaps you can hear Me better in the darkness when/where there are not as many distracting or preoccupying activities. Bring any darkness to Me because

with Me darkness is not dark,
and night shines as the day.
Darkness and light are but one. (Cf. Ps. 139)

Jesus is waiting for us, not only in the darkness but also in the Light.
Living in the light could sound like a dangerous proposition. Gazing at the light, as a Sufi mystic says, we might become light. Let God find you in light-hearted moments. Let God find you in hearty laughter. Let God find you in the simple and secure, the homey and the natural, in casual interactions and in a moment of prayer, a moment of just being.

I’ve been waiting for you in the Light. I’ve been waiting for you in the good times

to share them with Me . . .
to discover Me within them . . .
to see everything aglow with My Presence.

Aglow with the Presence of God:
What have you seen aglow lately?
What is some aspect of you or your life that God’s light is making more beautiful?

One day the sun admitted,
I am just a shadow.
I wish I could show you
The Infinite incandescence
That has cast my brilliant image!
I wish I could show you,
When you are lonely or in darkness,
The astonishing Light
Of your own Being. (Hafiz)

How has God shown you “the astonishing Light of your own being”?

Who is someone that God’s light shining on would make more beautiful?
Can you be that light for that person to enable that person to see herself/himself as beautiful?

Gazing at Christ, the Light of the world, we become light, even light for others in the darkness. What? If we live in the light, we would have to see the inner beauty of everything and everyone. We would have to see the evidence of the kingdom breaking forth from the worst darkness. We would have to see grace abounding.

Live on in the Light! The new year holds promise to be the best of times!

 

Dear Jesus,
You see me as I truly am.
Yet, I can barely accept Your view of me.
Let me allow You
to call me beautiful and beloved
precious to You
and mysteriously essential to Your work
in fashioning a world fruitful with Your resurrection.
Amen.

 

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