respondingtolove

This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.- John 3:19-20

 

Many deeds are being exposed. There is no denying the depths of evil we are witnessing in the present days. We have all read of it in the paper, heard of it on the radio, seen it on the TV news. Each day seems to bring additional gloom and sadness as horrible, evil transgressions of morality, goodness, light, and love are revealed.Many deeds are being exposed. There is no denying the depths of evil we are witnessing in the present days. We have all read of it in the paper, heard of it on the radio, seen it on the TV news. Each day seems to bring additional gloom and sadness as horrible, evil transgressions of morality, goodness, light, and love are revealed.

In a recent sober and concerned conversation with Bishop Chad, I was reminded by him that in these present days of darkness, we must keep our eyes on the Light! We must keep our eyes on Jesus! In this writing, I am challenging you (and myself) to look out on the horizon, beyond the shadows, peer past the darkness, and behold the immeasurable Light of Christ, the Light of Life.

I am a scuba diver. I learned to dive in the early 80s, then continued to dive with my wife and our family as our children matured. The beauty we have experienced under the water has filled my eyes and mind with awe. Aquatic life and its surroundings are an astoundingly beautiful part of creation and I am blessed to have experienced it. 

We have also experienced the immeasurable darkness of the deep as we descended beyond 100 feet and peered off the edge of deep underwater walls into the black abyss. No other mental or physical activities or experiences prepare you for that initial look into the vast darkness in the bottomless ocean.

In contrast to this deep darkness, near the source of the light, within 40 feet or less from the surface of the water, life is abundant. There are colorful coral, aquatic plants, and innumerable fish and other swimming life. It is a feast of beauty for the eyes, mind, and heart. It is glorious! But you do not experience this wonder and joy of seeing abundant light and life if you are swimming too deeply.

Jesus is the Light of our life! When we are consumed with the darkness of our own sins, or poignantly, in these dark times, with the knowledge of the sins of others, then He is obscured. We have trouble seeing Him and experiencing Him. Many of us are caught up in a downward current way below the surface in the abyss, where His light is not as easily seen. So we must swim upward before our air is consumed.

This takes real effort. In these dark times we are constantly bombarded through both the secular and Church media with a barrage of bad news, evil actions, and painful circumstances. Do not let this onslaught plunge you into the depths! Instead, focus on and be the light of the world. Make a decision right now not to drift into the darkness and be consumed, but instead commit to more time with Jesus. Increase the time you pray (especially before the Blessed Sacrament), study Scripture, and commune with the saints. Go to daily Mass and to Confession monthly. Also, reach out and help to lead others to Jesus. Ultimately, you are deepening your commitment to Jesus, instead of spending more time in the depths staring into the frightening abyss of the present day.

I am not suggesting you ignore or become callous, uncaring, and apathetic about the pain and suffering of others. In fact, just the opposite, for we must all pray for the thousands of victims and for the perpetrators of these atrocities. I am suggesting that we all find a balance that brings us closer to our Lord in this time of universal and individual suffering, so we can better partake of the beauty near the surface. We may then help to draw others out of the depths and into the light.

Born almost five hundred years ago in Spain, Doctor of the Church, St. John of the Cross, drew many beautiful analogies in his forever poignant writings. These included, “Dark Night of the Soul” and “Sayings on Light and Love.” One of my favorite, and one of his most famous analogies, likened our souls to window panes. As the sun shines through a clean window, if our soul is free of passion, sin, and any attachments, then the light of His risen life, the glorious light of Christ, can shine clearly through our own souls to bless and draw others out of the darkness into the light of our Lord. 

Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” - John 8:12

Suggested ReadingsSayings of Light and Love, St. John of the Cross (1542-1591)

Paul Hollomon grew up in Anchorage, then worked as a bush pilot in western Alaska. He served as a Methodist minister in his 30s, then converted to Catholicism. He attended Mt. Angel Seminary in Oregon, where he met Bishop Chad Zielinski while earning his Master’s in Theology and Scripture. Paul and his wife, Michele, raised and homeschooled their four children in Las Cruces, New Mexico, where they still reside. He can be reached at Paulhowabout@aol.com.