Hello everyone! This is Dcn. Nicholas here! I have the pleasure of writing this Pastor’s Column, as it will be my last weekend with you all before heading back to school in Rome. But before heading back, I am not ashamed to beg you all for your prayers! Please pray for me during this next year, especially as it is my last year to prepare before priestly ordination. Please pray that I have the strength to give everything away! To give it all! To shed the old man, so as to be fully invested and transformed into Christ! Please pray that I might burn away completely so that only Christ will shine in me.
“I am the light of the world,” says the Lord. “Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).
Something interesting about flames is that wherever they are, they always seem to be the center of focus! Have you ever noticed that when sitting around a bonfire or sitting around a candle in a dark room? We always quickly find ourselves gathering around light as the center of attention!
We don’t naturally gather around darkness. However, it seems to me that something has us all shaken up such that we have become consumed by the darkness of the world. This exterior darkness has even begun to seep inside of us, leaving us with feelings of confusion, disorientation, anxiety, fear, despair. Who knows when all this darkness will go away. But, if this is the question that you are asking yourself, you are still focused on the wrong things! We need to get our attention back on the Light!
The Gospel of John says, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5). —The darkness has not overcome the light! There is only one way this is possible. In a world which seems to be getting darker, the only way that the light will not be overcome is if the light becomes brighter too! As the darkness grows, so must the light!
Christ is shining away, like a light set on a lamp-stand, giving light to the whole house (Matt. 5:14). But the powers of darkness are distracting and trying their hardest to take away the glory of this light. We can join in this effort by lending our own lamps. We are called by Jesus to be disciples with lamps burning (Luke 12:35)! We must boldly make that stand and hold out our lights despite the darkness, even amidst the darkness.
We need to become enkindled! We need to be ignited! We need the flame of the Holy Spirit to rush upon us and consume us completely. We need to gather so close to the fire of the Most High God that, like tinder held closely to a bonfire, we too burst into flames. We need to become like Moses on Mt. Sinai, whose face was ignited and illumined with the glory of God. “Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he has been talking with God” (Ex. 34:29). His face shone so brightly, they had to cover his face!
May our faces be so too! May our lives be so too! May our lamps be so too!
There is only one way to overcome the darkness, and that is to overcome it with light! We don’t fight darkness head-on, but we overcome by out-shining it with light. We must become alight ourselves, and the brighter we burn, the more boldly we burn, we begin to outshine the darkness, the confusion, and the despair. This comes by making a resolute stand to be more prayerful, more devoted to the sacraments, more pious. We need to become more gracious, more grateful, more hospitable. We need to become more outgoing, more friendly, more charitable.
As the darkness increases, so must the light! The only way to respond is by shifting our attention back to the Light of the World. Let this light fill your eyes and brighten your countenance so that we can spread the joy of the Light and scatter the darkness.