One of the best parts of my day happens every evening at 5:00. This is when the local Norbertine communities come together to pray Vespers. Here we give thanks to God for yet another day and the people who have crossed our paths. We ask for protection throughout the night and honor Mary as the Queen of Heaven and our Defender against the evils of sin.
I prefer to get to the church or the oratory earlier than most of the community. Why? Because of the darkness. Especially during these Christmas days, when the sun sets around 4:00, the prayer space is dark and quiet. At the Abbey, candles line the top of the choir stalls and emit a dim, dancing light bouncing off of the walls of the serene church. It is one of the most peaceful sights I see everyday, and is the reason I strive to arrive extra early to prayer.
These candles send a powerful message to me. Although they are nothing but a pile of wax and string, they defeat the overwhelming power of the darkness. No matter how dark the space, as soon as a candle is lit, the light sends a sensation of clarity and hope to whomever witnesses the light. It’s no wonder than, to accompany the arrival of a tiny infant born to a humble teenager, starlight would point the way.
And then, as we begin prayer calling out in the same way as those who came before us, Jesus Christ is the Light of the World, a Light no darkness can extinguish! we acknowledge the power of the light chasing away the shadows of darkness.
Today as the Church celebrates the Epiphany, I can’t help but think about the power of the light. Imagining the faithful journey of the Magi is so inspiring. Nothing but darkness all around them except for the tiny, distant light guiding their footsteps across many miles. Setting an example for us all— even when we are overwhelmed by the confusion and let-down of sin, there is a light somewhere to help us find our path again.
Jesus Christ is our light, and is waiting for us to be engulfed in His light so we can ignite others in the same Light. We are called to be beacons in the night for those who have yet to see this glow. As this New Year begins, why not find a way to keep the light of Christ in your sight? As long as you are ignited with the light of Christ, so will all the others you encounter on your way.