Darkness, a Place of Possibility
Here in the northern hemisphere, at this time of year, darkness enfolds many an hour each day. This darkness enhances the mood of Advent, this time of preparation and waiting for the celebration of Christmas. Standing at my window late at night, gazing at the star spangled sky, is always an awe-inspiring moment. Such a moment of darkness has a rare beauty which I treasure. However, there is also a darkness that can weigh heavy on our souls.
Sometimes I feel I have so much to be thankful for, while at other times – less so. Life is filled with ups and downs. What we need to remember is that God is here with us through good times, but also in those challenging moments. Has anyone ever said to you, “I will give you the treasures of darkness?” This is the gift God seems to have offered me recently – the treasures of darkness. I have been slow to welcome and open this gift. Yet when I hesitantly began to unwrap it, a gentle light began to shine into the hidden recesses of my heart where anger and frustration lurked in the dark. Peace began to fill my heart. How can that be? As once again I began to remember who is in charge of my life, like gentle Mary, I finally was able to whisper, “The Lord has done marvels for me.”
While casting a backward glance over this year, so rapidly approaching the threshold of a new year, my heart is filled with sorrow as I recall all those other dark moments which cast a shadow over our world. Earlier this year Pope Francis admonished us to care for the earth, our common home. Yet this year our world has once again been rent asunder by horrendous horrors and upheavals. It has been marred by horrific tragedies, such as the Paris massacre, and the tsunami of distraught refugees seeking a safe place in our common home. Such is our dark world, our common home, where we prepare once again to celebrate the Birth of Jesus.
In this Jubilee year of Mercy may our hearts be filled with hope and trust. May we walk gently with darkness, always knowing that hope’s song is within us, as Emily Dickinson writes:
‘Hope is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
Or as the great musician Leonard Cohen reminds us in his song Anthem “there is a crack in everything – that’s how the light gets in.” So let us daily welcome Jesus into our hearts and lives. Not only at Christmas.
This is my wish for you. May Jesus, the Light of the World, shine in and through you. Brighten our world, for it is better to light a candle than to curse the dark.
On behalf of all the Sisters of the North American Province I wish you a joyous, blessed Christmas. May the celebration of the birth of our Saviour bring you renewed hope as you step into 2016. It will not be a perfect year, but may it be a year of growth, a year of joy, a year of loving and being loved, and most of all a year of peace, in your heart, in your home, in our world.
Sr. Magdalena Vogt, CPS
Longing for peace, our world is troubled.
Longing for hope, many despair.
Your word alone has power to save us.
Make us your living voice.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in our hearts.
Shine through the darkness.
Christ be our light!