Dear Parish Faithful,
“The Light of Christ illuminates all!”
At one particularly solemn point in the service of the Presanctified Liturgy, the priest turns from the altar table holding a single lit candle and the censer. He blesses everyone present with the words: “The Light of Christ illuminates all!” Everyone makes a prostration in order to receive this powerful blessings in an attitude of great humility and reverence. I just came across some commentary on this blessing from Fr. Thomas Hopko in the latest issue of Life Transfigured, the journal of the Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Ellwood City, PA. I would like to share his insightful words with all of you:
“The way to see reality in truth is in the light of God that is revealed to the world in Christ Who illumines all things, Who enlightens everything, and Who is Himself the light of the world. And it is only in that light that we see light and it is only in that light that we see everything the way it is – beginning with our own self.”
Now here is where it gets challenging:
“When you have light, everything is seen clearly – you cannot hide anymore. You cannot lie anymore – you cannot flee anymore. There is no way you can get away from it. In fact, the Light of God is the torture to those who hate light. If you do not want to see, then to see and to be forced to see is a torment. And so Jesus says this is the judgment – that light has shone in the darkness and there are those who love darkness more than light because their deeds are evil. They just do not want light.
“Now when that light shines, it is painful. A lot of times we do not want to see things as they really are. We prefer our own version of reality. And we go around trying to get everybody to agree with us so that they can do things the way that we think they ought to be done. Too see my own self as I really am is very painful. But it is a miracle greater than raising the dead. To see things clearly, to see our neighbor clearly – not to make up our own reality – that is what we want to do.
“So it is always a certain painful process to repent. But it is also glorious – what makes life to be life: a constant changing of our mind as it becomes more and more, deeply and fully, illumined by the light of God who is Christ Himself.”
Wise and illuminating words!