Many thanks to Rebecca Otto for allowing me to use this photo this morning.
In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace. (The Song of Zechariah Benedictus Dominus Deus. Canticle 16. The Book of Common Prayer. p.92).
I will always remember when I prayed Matins for the first time on an Easter Sunday morning in 1994. I was a young soon to be college graduate. I had been discerning during my Senior year about becoming a Catholic; which I did in 1995. In 2010 I was received as an Episcopalian. Since I had first visited Glastonbury Abbey in Hingham, MA in November 1993; I had begun a regular routine of praying The Liturgy of the Hours. On that Easter morning, I read those incredible words from St. Matthew’s Gospel Chapter 18:5-6, “I know you are looking for Jesus the crucified, but he is not here. He has been raised, exactly as he promised.” As I was reading those words, the Easter sun came out. I felt a rush of light, a warmth, a sense of faith. It was as though the Holy Spirit gave me a kiss of hope. I have had this experience on numerous occasions when I have prayed the words from the Song of Zechariah that I used below the picture featured above.
Among my current practices is to pray Matins at 5:00am on Weekdays, 5:30am on Saturdays and 6:00am on Sundays. Among the reasons is to celebrate the hope of God in the remaining hour of the darkness of night as it gives way to the light of the dawn. It is a reminder that darkness and death are not a finality. They are only a transition.
Many of us are walking through times of darkness. Our lives are overshadowed by our jobs, relationships, families and the ins and outs of daily life. We are confronted with the reality of violence, sickness, poverty and despair. It seems that the light of faith is elusive.
Our God of compassion and infinite mercy though veiled from our physical sight; remains ever present and showing through the light of the dawns of our lives. “The darkness is not dark to God. The night is as bright as the day. To God, light and darkness are both alike” (Psalm 139:10, 11 paraphrased). The light of God shines into our life as life actually is; including the snow, the ice and the cold. All that is will be illuminated by God’s abiding presence. All of us may be equally assured that Jesus Christ who is God’s perfect revelation of God’s Self is walking with each of us as we make our way toward God as God directs our path “into the way of peace.”
Br. Anselm Philip King-Lowe, n/OSB