Sunday, May 24, 2015

Light in darkness.

Today is Pentecost, the birthday of the Church, the day that the Apostles, timid and confused, were sent into the world, lit up by the light of Christ---figuratively and literally:

Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire,
which parted and came to rest on each one of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and began to speak in different tongues,
as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.

The Apostles were the light in a dark time, sent to light up the nations.

When things look bright we (and certainly I) may be tempted to ignore the light. We take the brightness for granted, and turn away to other things, silly things, novelties, other interests, other faiths, and if we think about God at all it's just to think that He knows we're good at heart---if not in, you know, deed---and will reward us if we ever have to actually see Him.

When things start getting dark, though, we may realize how desperately we need that light, that we needed it all the time. We want the God who loves us, the one who showed the fullest measure of devotion to His creation by coming down and suffering with us for it. God's always there for us, but if we're not in the practice of seeking Him, listening for Him, it becomes harder to find the light.

I call myself a writer, but sometimes I can't put the words together to get these kinds of thoughts across. Fortunately, I don't have to.

Last March, Iraqi Christian refugees in Jordan sent a letter to Pope Francis---refugees who had lost everything, persecuted by the most vicious, evil, cunning force currently in operation on the planet. In the letter they wrote:

O Father, know that our faith today is much stronger than before. We are not afraid of anything because we are convinced that God is with us, and the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Savior hears our prayers and requests  and resolves the problems we face every day.
This is in fact what we feel and live every day. We always thank the Lord, so that we can be reunited with him.
O good Father, simple and humble, we ask you to pray and act for us and for our wounded people in the Arab world for the forgiveness of our sins, so that the peace of Christ can reign. However, we want to pray first for all those who are the cause of all this evil and those wicked works. 
We want to pray for all those who have shed the blood of many innocents, observing the laws of evil and darkness. 
O Holy Father, we want you to pray so that they can repent before their Creator, so that they can become instruments of peace and love and no longer instruments in the hand of the Evil One, so that they can become true children of God. 
We pray to our Loving Jesus, O Holy Father, that He will give you good health and good will and illumination so that you can continue what your predecessors initiated, from Saint Peter and Saint Paul down to the Saint of the century, Saint John Paul II and the rest of the disciples. 
Finally, in the name of Christ we want to thank you for taking the time to read our humble letter. 
We ask the Lord to give you strength and courage to be able to be always at the service of the poor in the whole world. May the Lord be at your side wherever you go. We thank the local Catholic Church and Caritas-Jordan for all the good they did for us, after our flight.

Say a prayer today for those who seek the light in darkness, and those whose only light in the darkness is the light of Christ.

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