Reflection on Darkness and Light

If I say, “Surely the darkness will cover me, and the light around me turn to night,” Darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day; darkness and light to you are both alike. (Psalm 139:10-11. The Book of Common Prayer, p.794).

I once heard the story of a man who served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. His ship was destroyed and sank in the Pacific in a battle with Japanese forces. He found himself in the ocean with debris from the ship, and many of his shipmates. Some were dead. Others were wounded. Others were trying to stay alive. As he and many of the men struggled to grab on to anything that would help them stay a float, they discovered a shark fin swimming their way. The individual who told the story was one of the very fortunate survivors. Later in his life, he told us that while he was in the midst of the life and death struggle, he was praying the words of Psalm 139:10-11.

My readers have read the many times I have written about the importance of searching for union with God in the here and now. Whatever is happening to us at this moment, whether we are enjoying the warm clear air, holding a new born baby, cleaning the garage, sitting in a room, or at the point of death; God is there with us. Jesus told us in Matthew 28:20 “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

God may or may not bring us exactly what we think we need at this moment. But, God is with us in God’s Grace and Love without exception.

The contemplative person, lives in an awareness of God in our times of silence and solitude; as well as our times of working, suffering, loving, enjoying or crying. We can acknowledge God while we butter bread while praying in thanksgiving for the sun, the rain, the wheat, the flour, the cows, the milk, the baker, the grocer, and the means of how we obtained the bread and butter. As we do such things, we are living the presence of God in that very moment. In moments of darkness, in our struggle and questioning, God is interacting with us in our uncertainty.

As we continue to live through these difficult times, let us remember to look for and respond to God’s loving embrace with arms that are forever outstretched on the hard wood of the Cross.

“Let us open our eyes to the light that can change us to the likeness of God. Let our ears be alert to the stirring of his voice crying to us every day: if today, you should hear his voice, do not harden your heart.” (The Benedictine Handbook, p.11).

Where do you see God shining God’s light in your darkness?


Peace be with all who enter here.

Brother Anselm Philip King-Lowe, OSB

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