“I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness,
but will have the light of life.”
Image: ‘Light Of The World’
(C) Nathan Greene
Looking around us at the world in which we live, it is easy to become disheartened and disillusoned; there seems to be such evil present and active in the world, and so many hearts are filled with darkness and hatred. This evil seems to flow over into the very events taking place around us across the world.
But as Christians, we are called to have hope which never fails, and to be light in the midst of all this darkness. Saint John reminds us that it was the very same in his time as it is now in ours, and he has these words for us – “the light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it” (Jn.1:15).
This light is not our own – we are not it’s source. We simply reflect it by our belief and by our way of living. Christ the Lord is the True Light, as He tells us in the Gospel –
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (Jn.8:12)
Still, we look around us and we see the pain and suffering ever present in the lives of so many, and we feel our hearts moved by their pain. Pope Francis tells us something about suffering with others –
“A person who sees things as they truly are and sympathizes with pain and sorrow is capable of touching life’s depths and finding authentic happiness. He or she is consoled, not by the world but by Jesus. Such persons are unafraid to share in the suffering of others; they do not flee from painful situations. They discover the meaning of life by coming to the aid of those who suffer, understanding their anguish and bringing relief. They sense that the other is flesh of our flesh, and are not afraid to draw near, even to touch their wounds. They feel compassion for others in such a way that all distance vanishes. In this way they can embrace Saint Paul’s exhortation: ‘Weep with those who weep’ (Rom 12:15). Knowing how to mourn with others: that is holiness.” (‘Gaudete et Exsultate’, n.76)
It is in living these words that we become light for the world, reflecting the very Light of Christ, shining it deep into the lives and the hearts of others. It is also in living these words that we find true Peace, for Christ is the Prince of Peace. The Holy Father says this –
“That same peacefulness, the fruit of grace, makes it possible to preserve our inner trust and persevere in goodness.. Christ, in a word, ‘is our peace’ (Eph 2:14); He came ‘to guide our feet into the way of peace’ (Lk 1:79). As He told Saint Faustina Kowalska, ‘Mankind will not have peace until it turns with trust to My mercy’.. Jesus says: ‘My peace I give to you; I do not give it to you as the world gives peace’ (Jn 14:27)”. (‘Gaudete et Exsultate’, n.121)
Christ, then, is the true Light of the World and He gives us a sense of compassion to share in the suffering of others whilst still offering hope that does not fade or fail, and He gives us His own peace, a peace the world cannot give.
All of this, we find in superabundance within the Wound of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, pierced and opened wide by the lance upon the Cross. The Lord tells us in Gethsemane that His Heart is “sorrowful even unto death”(cf.Mt.26:38). And this is no exaggeration – very shortly, that Heart will expire for love of us all. The Heart of Jesus knows suffering, for It has experienced it fully and to it’s completion.
As people of faith, we know, of course, that the story does not end there; this Sacred Heart now beats again, a glorious and eternal pulse that echoes forever throughout all of human history, and beyond.
The Wound in this Sacred Heart is our sanctuary and our strength; It is our place of shelter and refuge, our never-failing storehouse of grace, mercy, light and peace. It is an Ocean of Living Water, flowing out across all humanity and vivifying us.
And so, when we are assailed by the misery of the world, by the darkness of humanity, and by our own failings and sinfulness, let us cast all of it – with perfect confidence – into the Wound of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, enclosing it there and entrusting it to His mercy. In doing so, may we always be light in the world, reflecting the Light of Christ, that Light touching and transforming all human hearts.