Taste and See: Lighten our way

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O God, who enlighten everyone who comes into this world,
illuminate our hearts, we pray,
with the splendour of your grace,
that we may always ponder
what is worthy and pleasing to your majesty
and love you in all sincerity.
Through Christ our Lord.

Prayer after Communion on the 4th Sunday of Lent

The Prayer after Communion at Mass yesterday had us pray for God to be God and us to be us, fully us, truly us.

God is love, light, truth, and God seeks to share all that is good.

All that is good helps us to fulfilment – for our own benefit and that of otheres, and yet so often we progress by half measures, and retreat into the shadows.

But we pray for things to be as best they might be.

Sometimes to pray for this is all that we are able to do, but God has ways of answering our prayers beyond what we can imagine.

Steps at St Trophime, Arles, France. (c) 2013, Allen Morris

Speak Lord: draw us to the light

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You were darkness once, but now you are light in the Lord; be like children of light, for the effects of the light are seen in complete goodness and right living and truth. Try to discover what the Lord wants of you, having nothing to do with the futile works of darkness but exposing them by contrast. The things which are done in secret are things that people are ashamed even to speak of; but anything exposed by the light will be illuminated and anything illuminated turns into light. That is why it is said:

Wake up from your sleep,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.

Ephesians 5:8-14

The Second reading at Mass on Sunday, the 4th Sunday of Lent, engages with the themes of darkness and light that are major themes in the Gospel of the Day, the story of the man born blind.

In this reading St Paul reminds us of our own aquaintance with darkeness and our call to live as light, in the Lord.

  • What remains shadowed in your life?
  • To what light do you find yourself called?
  • How might you test that light to know its truth?
  • How might you find courage to respond to the call of the true light

Musée des Civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée, Marseille. (c) 2013, Allen Morris

Speak Lord: Our light

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The Lord is my light and my help.

The Lord is my light and my help;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
before whom shall I shrink?

The Lord is my light and my help.

There is one thing I ask of the Lord,
for this I long,
to live in the house of the Lord,
all the days of my life,
to savour the sweetness of the Lord,
to behold his temple.

The Lord is my light and my help.

I am sure I shall see the Lord’s goodness
in the land of the living.
Hope in him, hold firm and take heart.
Hope in the Lord!

The Lord is my light and my help.

Psalm 26:1,4,13-14

The Responsorial psalm on Sunday, tomorrow, has us acclaim the Lord as our light and our help.

We are gathered by his light. Unlike moths, attracted by a lamp and then held captive by it, we are set free by the light of the Lord. We are set free to live attentive to his light within us, and to share that life, that relationship with him, with others.

Plaque. Golders Green Crematorium. (c) 2014, Allen Morris.

 

Speak Lord: Light, Life, Joy

Light catchers, Avignon

Sunday is the sixth Sunday of Easter and the Responsorial psalm is again a psalm that is full of praise and longing to praise.

That sometime gap between the longing to praise and the reality of praise is maybe especially pertinent for us to note at this stage in Easter. If indeed we still remember that it is Easter: after all, look around, most people won’t, or just don’t, care that it is Easter. The day came and went, we had our Easter Eggs, let’s get on with life…

Yet is is Easter, and without it we would not have life. It is Easter, the season of thanksgiving for the Lord’s rising from the dead and, maybe still more wonderful, our sharing in that rising from the death of sin and fault and weariness and all. His rising is once and for all: our rising will find its fulfilment in eternal life, but for now it makes its presence known in the daily risings following the daily falls. For these too we praise.

Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.
or
Alleluia!

O God, be gracious and bless us
and let your face shed its light upon us.
So will your ways be known upon earth
and all nations learn your saving help.

Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.
or
Alleluia!

Let the nations be glad and exult
for you rule the world with justice.
With fairness you rule the peoples,
you guide the nations on earth.

Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.
or
Alleluia!

Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.
May God still give us his blessing
till the ends of the earth revere him.

Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.
or
Alleluia!

Psalm 66:2-3,5-6,8

  • Where do you find the light of God’s face?
  • Where do you find his saving help comes to your assistance?

Light catchers, Prison Sainte Anne, Avignon. (c) 2014, Allen Morris

Taste and See: To live as children of the light…

 

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The Second reading for last Sunday’s Mass, the 33rd Sunday of the Year, continues to offer food for the formation of the Christian spirit, and the nourishment of the Christian life.

You will not be expecting us to write anything to you, brothers, about ‘times and seasons’, since you know very well that the Day of the Lord is going to come like a thief in the night. It is when people are saying, ‘How quiet and peaceful it is’ that the worst suddenly happens, as suddenly as labour pains come on a pregnant woman; and there will be no way for anybody to evade it.

But it is not as if you live in the dark, my brothers, for that Day to overtake you like a thief. No, you are all sons of light and sons of the day: we do not belong to the night or to darkness, so we should not go on sleeping, as everyone else does, but stay wide awake and sober.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-6

The shocking news of the killings in Jerusalem yesterday, and the shocking news that preceded it from so many other places in the world of suffering and hatred and cruelty is surely a great darkness. It can so easily overwhelm us and make us too into children of the night and darkness, lashing out at the ‘enemy’ and failing to recognise in them the features of a brother or sister, a child of God.

But by our calling, and by our baptism, we are children of the light, children of the new day, and of the new creation. Reborn with Christ on the first day, that is also the eighth day, filled with newness and hope, we are to be ministers of his peace to others.

How challenging is that given our own weaknesses and prejudices, and the challenges that the darkness sets before us again and again.

  • Today is given us for life. What darkness in you do you ask the Lord to drive away with his gentle but powerful light?
  • What darkness in your home or place of work do you need to carry his light to, for the sake of others?

Photograph of fresco representing the Holy Spirit, Basilica of St Francis, Assisi. (c) 2014, Allen Morris