Editor’s note: “Matters of faith” is a column that provides local religious leaders a place to write about how their respective faiths provide hope, courage and strength in these modern times.
“A people living in darkness has seen a great light. On those who inhabit a land overshadowed by death, light has arisen (Matt. 4:16).”
The other day, I came across an article by Sister Jeanne Hill, a Dominican nun, who spoke about the importance of doing our best to live in the light of Christ by praying in the Resurrection Light:
“If ever a period of history needed to hear this Good News, the news that ‘a people living in darkness has a seen a great light,’ it is our own time. The darkness of hostility and injustice, of deception, disillusionment, consequent wars and ultimate despair is growing daily at a rate that threatens to destroy the entire earth. It would be tragic if those who profess to be followers of Christ fail in their commission to bring light into this darkness: ‘There was a time when you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Well, then, live as children of the light (Ephesians 5:8).’”
Sister Jeanne’s article can and should remind us that no matter how dark and bleak our world can appear at times, the Light of Christ continues to burn brightly over the face of the earth and within our souls, giving you and me a chance to reflect the Light of Christ just as the moon reflects the light of the sun. We can choose to be like the “moon” that blocks out the rays of the sun as in a solar eclipse, or we can choose to be like the “moon” that shines in the darkness as it awaits the dawn of a new day and the rising of the sun.
Sister Jeanne wrote, “We believe that when Jesus rose from the dead, victorious in His battle with the forces of darkness, the light He had come to share with us proved itself to be the most powerful energy of the universe. This was the Resurrection Light, the light of life, given to us to enliven the world, just as John proclaims, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but have the light of life (John 8:12)’”
If you and I believed that we were really carrying the Light of Christ within us, we would not be fearful of the dark, or phased one bit by all the power outages that are occurring around the world because of natural disasters or because of equipment failure.
On the contrary, we would rise to the occasion like the moon shining in the darkness in order to let others know that our God has not abandoned or forsaken us, but has given you and me the chance to Rise and Shine just like the nation of Israel: “Rise up in splendor! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you. See, darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds cover the peoples; but upon you, the Lord shines (Isaiah 60:1).”
A few weeks ago, Staff Writer Steve Howe from the Tooele Transcript Bulletin reported on the power outage here in Tooele County that left 11,000 without lights, a story that hit home for all us by helping us recognize just how dependent we are on electricity.
Like Howe, reporters from around the globe are bringing to “light” the power outages that are affecting hundreds, thousands or millions of people right now, such as the power outage in Puerto Rico that has affected nearly 1.5 million people and shut off water service for about 340,000 people, not to mention all the traffic jams, as well as school and business closures Yikes!
In no way do I want to make “light” of all the power outages around the nation. But as a child, I would have jumped for joy if schools across Tooele Valley had to close down for a few days. If that closure had taken place during final exam week, I would have literally gotten down on my knees and prayed, “Thank you, Lord — you are my light and my salvation.”
Believe it or not, power outages and equipment failure can work in favor of the students and some teachers who are looking for a break in the schedule. C’mon, you know I’m right.
Needless to say, power outages can bring a whole community, city and state to a screeching halt, but hopefully, these power outages, fires, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes do not bring our faith to a screeching halt, but enhance our faith all the more as we seek God’s light.
Sister Jeanne Hill was serious when she said we need to pray in the Resurrection Light, and so she offered this prayer, “Jesus, I thank you for the light of your life now coming into my head. May the chemistry of my brain, the electrical impulses, the entire circulatory system come today under your perfect Lordship so that my body can function in perfect health. Let your light permeate the entire chemistry of my body, drawing all fluids and tissues, the functioning of every organ and system into your perfect order.
“Jesus, may my mind be taken up today into your mind, that I might walk today in the perfect truth of your word. Let the light of your loving presence spread into all the unhealed areas of my spirit; into the places of my deepest fears, anger, and unforgiveness, any dark areas of guilt which still need your saving grace and wisdom.
“Jesus, I thank you for making us temples of your Holy Spirit and for sending us out into the world as the Salt of the Earth and as the Light of the World! May your light continue to burn brightly within all of us now and forever!”
Rev. Vialpando is the priest at St. Marguerite Catholic Church in Tooele.