Blinding Light

The Church gives images of light all of the time. Is there a reason for that which could have a serious effect on your faith walk?
by Kathryn M. Cunningham, MAPS | Source:

I am fascinated by relics, the tangible remnant of people and situations that were holy.  These are objects that actually touched or were part of miraculous situations and/or people, literally.   One of my favorite relics to contemplate is the Shroud of Turin. Argument rages about whether the Shroud is the actual burial cloth of Christ, the sheet that actually wrapped His broken body when He was laid in the tomb.  I have not the slightest doubt that it is real and part of that is because of my background as a person of science.  I taught science for thirty-five years and loved it for longer than that.  The whole “proof” for me lies in the information about the image; it is not paint, it is not dye, it does not soak through the cloth, it is not solid, it is made up of each of millions of individual fibers which are singed on their very tips with no other damage visible to the fiber itself.  One expert, after receiving this information, pondered that this kind of image could have only been formed by an intense flash so fast and strong that would have equaled the atomic bomb!  Boom, resurrection in a blinding light, that’s how the image was formed, my heart knows it’s real.  My science teacher’s mind says; perfectly logical.

That’s not the only image of light that gets my attention.  How about the shepherds?  Yes THOSE shepherds, what got their attention on that cold Nazareth night was the light, the star, look up.  Then there were the Magi who followed the light as it led them from east to west, follow the star.  Astronomers have speculated and predicted and opined on what these celestial phenomena could have been and they have tried to explain them every which way.  No matter, however it was caused, it was “the light” that stirred them all.  When Paul was converted the first thing that got his attention after he hit the ground was the light.  It was so intense that it blinded him, the others saw it too.  Sometimes the light hurts.

Throughout the scriptures and throughout history “the light” is always showing up; the first atomic blasts, Chernobyl, the miracle of the Sun at Marian apparitions, laser surgery.  So, then, what’s so important about “light”?  Nothing’s faster, 186,000 miles per second.  Dawn, the new day, Morning Star.   Dark can be scattered by a tiny match, but nothing, literally, stops light. We are currently in the season of the Church which anticipates the light with great joy.  What is it that so attracts us to light?  In the darkness, a campfire is indescribably comforting, when we wake in the night a tiny night light gives us a sense of calm, in the black of a cellar even the smallest pen light gives us courage, at the Easter Vigil the bringing of the “new fire” takes our breath away, at dawn even the tiniest glimmer of the new day gives us hope.  Light stirs something primal in us that we can’t even articulate.

Could it be that there is something unspoken in our very being that responds to God even if we claim not to “be religious”?  Jesus clearly taught “I am the light of the world.” (Jn 8:12)  It is interesting to note that in the very beginning of the Bible the first thing that God gives us is light (Gen 1:3) and at the very end of the Bible John tells us that: “God is light; there is no darkness in Him at all.” (I Jn 1:5) The ideas, then, of moving toward the light, seeking the light, or being comforted by the light are more than just metaphor.  If God is light, our attraction to the light is really a move toward God himself.  Light envelopes us totally just like the love of God.  The hope of Advent and all of the light images of the season are really another way to say that as we move toward God, he runs toward us.  Alleluia, the truth is that God never moves away from us, rather we are the ones who move away from Him.  That doesn’t stop our attraction, though.  In our bones we crave the light, in the dark we wish for it.

When you are pleased by the light of a beautiful candle or open your eyes and are happy to see the light of day once more, realize that there are things in your nature that respond to God in a sub-conscious, very primal way. Be joyful that part of you really craves the presence of God.  Take advantage of this part of your being and celebrate being a seeker of the light. “Walk while you have the light, so that darkness may not overcome you.  Whoever walks in the dark does not know where he is going.  While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of the light.” (Jn 12: 35-36)  No matter what you do, you can’t stop the light.  Even your very bones know that’s true!  Joyous Advent.  

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Copyright©2010, Kathryn M. Cunningham, All Rights Reserved.

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Published by: Ben
Date: 2010-12-17 21:37:57
I've thought about the Shroud every day for the last 25 years. Is it the real thing? ABSOLUTELY! You may enjoy my call to Larry King in 1985 about the Shroud...

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