The Light of the Lord

There is an invitation in Isaiah 2 I have always found attractive:

O house of Jacob, come;
let us walk in the light of the Lord.

Have you ever asked yourself what that really means? To Isaiah it meant principally living by the precepts of the Lord, incarnating that integrity I spoke of yesterday. But I think for us as Christians it means something more. It means trying to see as God sees; and as we know, ‘God does not see as man sees’ because he sees the heart, which is so often hidden from us. There is a paradox here: that which is most hidden, most obscure, is also the most luminous. We see more clearly with the heart than with the eyes of the mind. The heart is, so to say, the fovea of the human person, that which sees without distortion, which can focus clearly upon God.

Advent is so full of activity that we can seem at times to be preparing for the coming of Christ in utterly contradictory ways. Today, for example, is Mega Monday, when internet sales peak; but one would have to be extremely strong-minded (or misanthropic or broke) not to take part in at least some of the pre-Christmas commercial activity. How, then, do we ‘walk by the light of the Lord’ in the midst of our everyday life when it seems to be pulling us in all directions? For me, part of the answer is to be found in RB 52, On the Oratory of the Monastery, which happens to be the chapter we read today. The oratory should be what it is called, says Benedict, and nothing else should be done or kept there. For most of us, there is no physical oratory we can withdraw to, but we all have hearts in which Christ prays unceasingly to the Father. From time time throughout the day, we can briefly, quietly, remember that and join our prayer with His. We can allow his light to shine on what we are doing and transform it.


13 thoughts on “The Light of the Lord”

  1. Whenever I have had a Chapel I love to just sit in there not feeling that I have to pray or use a formula but just be..The light which radiates from within seems to fill the Chapel.Maybe I am being fanciful I hope not

  2. I read this just after I had decided to place a chair in the spare room to use as a prayer/meditation space. Now I shall call it the ‘oratory’! Thank you for confirming the prompting!

  3. “we all have hearts in which Christ prays unceasingly to the Father”

    Powerful words, which seem to echo in my own heart. So, is that still, quiet voice we all know, our own Ego, or Christ praying within us? I really hope that it is.

    • Yes. I think we must be careful, however, not to identify ‘the inner voice’ with Christ’s too simply. At baptism the gift of prayer was poured into our hearts (so we can pray unceasingly) but not, alas, the gift of infallibility. . .

  4. Space and silence and time for reflection isn’t a big part of my life at the moment. Quiet moments only occur just before I fall asleep, or just before I get up. So I grab every opportunity to be reminded of this season; advent calendars (religious and secular, chocolate and plain), advent candles, your blog, following natwivity on twitter, teaching carols (and therefore “the Christmas story”) to the children in music and piano lessons.
    So I guess the “unceasing prayer” is a bit more chaotic and frantic than meditation in an oratory; but on-going and all pervasive…

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