Saint Sophronius (c. 560–638) wrote that through the life of Christ, all things will be filled “with divine warmth and life-giving brightness.”
Yes, and if we compare Christ’s warmth and light to the alternative, the importance of that light gets clearer.
What coldness is cured by “divine warmth”?
- Coldness toward God is warmed when we remember that “I have loved you with an everlasting love and so I still maintain my faithful love for you (Jeremiah 31:3).”
- Coldness of our love for co-workers, family, and fellow drivers thaws out with God’s reminder that he will forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us (Matthew 6:12). Paul says us that our motive for forgiving others must be that God has forgiven us so much (Ephesians 4:32). Like that time we did exactly what we’re now mad at someone else for doing.
- Coldness about our own life and future will heat up when we remember that the plans God has for us are “for peace and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11).”
What darkness is cured by Jesus’ “life-giving brightness”?
- Darkness of avoiding God because of our sin can be lifted because, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).”
- Darkness as we look to our future disappears when we hear and believe Jesus’ own words, “Therefore, I tell you not to be anxious about your life….(Matthew 6:25).”
- Darkness of thinking we’re unlovable evaporates if we think of Jesus looking at us tenderly and saying that he died for us while we were still sinning (Romans 5:8). Just think: if he asked us what more he could do to prove his love, would we be able to add anything?
Light of Christ is Hope
As Pope Benedict XVI pointed out in Saved in Hope, the pagan mythical gods were capricious and contradictory, so those trying to follow them never knew where they stood; they faced “a dark world and a dark future.” It’s good to be reminded that darkness is, indeed, the only alternative to Christ. That there are only two choices, as foreshadowed by events in the Garden of Eden and in Jesus speaking through the words of Moses: “I am offering you life or death, blessing or curse. Choose life, then….(Deuteronomy 30:19).”
One who hopes lives differently
As foretold in the Old Testament, everything changed with Jesus. Every kind of darkness was dispelled by the light of hope, which is belief that God can and will bring us to himself after death if we say “yes” to his mercy.
Pope Benedict goes on to say, “The Gospel is not merely a communication of things that can be known—it is one that makes things happen and is life-changing. The dark door of time, of the future, has been thrown open. The one who has hope lives differently; the one who hopes has been granted the gift of a new life.”
Living in the light
It is a challenge to live this “new life” every day, because the darkness is always trying to dim the light and coldness trying to overcome its warmth. We can keep our life “new” by letting God remind us of our “future with hope,” and that the light of his Resurrection has won the victory. Darkness is a lie whose days are numbered!
I challenge you this week to choose a passage from Scripture that you can call to mind whenever you sense the clouds of doubt or anxiety settling on your mind.
The light of hope has won the eternal victory, and his name is Jesus Christ. The divine physician cures everything that keeps us from union with him.
The passage I picked was not from scripture but is the Prayer of Saint Francis which begins:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
I feel calm just reading that. Thanks, Tom.