Darkness into light…It is a mystery which the Church asks us to contemplate and to celebrate every Advent season.
At a recent workshop, our Fr. Ken O’Malley, C.P., who spent the greater part of his Passionist life with books, first as a student, and then as a librarian, shared with us this hint about understanding the dynamics of authoring a book, "It’s in the first chapter that one finds the key to understanding the book and its ending." This Advent theme, "Darkness into light", is certainly well-established in the very opening of the revelation of God’s word to us. Genesis, Chapter one, verses one to five, declare:
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.
That cosmic perspective, God’s bestowal of warming daylight over the gloomy chill of night, captured in the opening words of Genesis, is also proclaimed in the seasonal transition from the chill and dark of winter into the warming breath of spring and the elongation of the daylight. [Due apologies to the southern hemisphere.]
The liturgy of the Church declares in the symbols of advent, especially the Advent wreath and candles, "God’s light is eternally radiant in the life of Christ, who is born into the night of Bethlehem and will be radiant in the life of His Church, in our very lives."
To be without sight is to carry a burden in a world made by and for the sighted. But to be without light makes all of us know the same darkness in the same way. We were all without light before the coming of the sun of God, the Son of God, Jesus Christ. The blind men of today’s gospel are we.
In the spirit of Advent, let us give thanks that knowing the beginning of God’s book, we know how it will end, not in darkness, but in the light…not in the ignominy of the cross, but in the glory of the resurrection…and at the end of time, not in darkness and chaos but in eternal light.
Fr. Arthur Carrillo, C.P. is the director of the Office of Mission Effectiveness for Holy Cross Province. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.