“The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.”
Night lights were a great invention that plays so well with the very function of the eye in a process called “dark adaptation.” While the eye adjusts to darkness the “night light” which at first seems so dim can be the source of light that is necessary to see down the hall and into the bathroom. Just a few moments for the rhodopsin (the photopigment used by the rods that make night vision possible) to complete their job our eyes can see in the dimmest of light. But of course, if there is no light at all, we are just plain out of luck.
Growing up the night light that shined into my room outside the bedroom door was a plastic Sacred Heart statue. Not only did it give enough light to subdue the fear of night it reminded me who was the source of light in the world!! The darkness, as Saint John tells us, at the beginning of His Gospel, can never overcome the light! As morning would come and the sun would radiate through the unshaded window there was a sigh of relief that another day would be granted and guided by God’s love.
Those were long and scary nights for me as a child for as the dark close in so did the reality of a war being fought 8,500 miles away. The thought of perhaps my friends older brothers being killed and even worse reality that it might last long enough that I may have to participate made night time prayers a necessity and the Sacred Heart night light my remedy.
Becoming afraid of the dark that lurks in our minds can lead us to the edge of despair. The darkness of doubt, illness, fear and loneliness are just a few that blinds our spiritual eye with anxiety and panic. During this present pandemic and the increasing fear of contracting the illness has added to the darkness that is so often accompanying our already well-defined insecurities. But when these fears are coupled with spiritual darkness we can find ourselves closing our eyes of Hope so tightly that the light that overshadows the darkness is negated.
Saint Paul tells the Thessalonians and reminds us all as well:
“You are not in the dark,
that the day should catch you off guard, like a thief.
No, all of you are children of light and of the day!
We belong neither to darkness nor tonight!”
Albeit anxiety is real for those who suffer it and spiritual darkness is overwhelming for those who experience it but the power and promise of Christ the Light will never fall short and leave us totally abandoned. Crying out in the darkness may sound like despair, as it did to those who heard Jesus upon the cross calling out the heavenly Father, but it is the disposition that opens us up to the promise of Saint John’s Gospel: The light will never be overcome… in fact, as Saint John goes on to tell us, God so loved the world that he sent His only Son to be that beacon of light/hope and whoever calls upon His name will never perish!
This is Saint Paul’s message as well: remember open wide your eyes of Faith in the darkness and be calm and at peace for you are children of the light!