The light shines through my dining room windows and reminds me that I have a consistent layer of dust coating the glass. That same light, however, shimmers through the young spring leaves on the tree and causes cheery shadows to flutter on the deck. It is an equal opportunity gaze, this light, and casts beautiful beams through one thing while highlighting the imperfections of another. It basks the flowers on the table in an ethereal brilliance and then reminds me to change the furnace filter as I see a haze of dust lingering in the air.
…for He makes the sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.Matthew 5:45 RSVCE
The light of Christ does the same thing as it covers the earth. It reveals deeper beauty than we saw before and yet unearths deeper ugliness than we knew before. This is true for the world, the community, and our own hearts. When we step out of our artificially coordinated world and into the unwavering light of the day, we don’t become worse. Instead, we are seen for who we truly are. The light doesn’t lie, but the truth can be equally unnerving.
Often, those rays of light slice through the walls and resistance and point to something I had overlooked or forgotten or hoped I had masked well enough. It strips back the covering and points, unswervingly, at the reality of what is. Like Adam and Eve, we want to sew together anything at hand that would do the trick of providing some coverage, some semblance of disguise. It can be intensely uncomfortable to step even further into the light, to welcome the piercing rays and drop to the ground whatever excuses might be nearby.
A confessional attitude means that one does not hide oneself, does not avoid God’s gaze, but rather exposes oneself to him voluntarily out of love. One lets oneself be seen and exposed….After the Fall, man no longer wanted to stand naked before God. He could not tolerate being illuminated by God’s bright light. A confessional attitude means, not that one actively shows to God everything one has done, but that one places oneself without defenses before his penetrating gaze.The Holy Spirit, Fire of Divine Love, Fr. Wilfrid Stinissen, OCD
The joy of the Resurrection demands something of us, something beyond a delightful entry into feasting and boisterous alleluias! It requires that we enter into the light of the Risen Lord and be willing to stand in that gaze. The Lord’s gaze is always one of love. Yet it is a love that does not overlook the damnable parts but desires particularly to save those very parts.
The Resurrection joy crushes the cross and death and sin. It is only our childishness that imagines such a powerful light could be kept from shining into every fissure in our soul. Truthfully, we don’t want to keep this light out, even when it is inconvenient or troublesome or seems harsh. Truthfully, we want to step into the light, to stop pretending that we can manage the darkness on our own or perpetuate the lie that there is no darkness within. We want to surrender, to yield to our Creator, to become pliant like never before, as a child before the Father.
Yet experience has shown that we don’t always give way to the light. We fight it, we hide under a blanket, we put a towel at the bottom of the door, we use the best room darkening blinds known to man. Why? Because when the Light of the World stepped into a temple and found it in need of cleansing, He made a whip out of cords and overturned the money changing tables and drove everyone out who ought not be doing what they were doing. And we know He will do the same when He is given free rein in us, temples of the Holy Spirit. Zeal for the house of God particularly consumes Him when it relates to the beings He bought and paid for with His Precious Blood.
The light most assuredly shines, whether or not we acknowledge the reality of what is happening. And one day we will be led to a place where we will not have the luxury (or insanity) of being able to deny reality. We will see our entire lives bathed in this light of truth and, because it will be true, we will be unable to argue with what it unearths. So the question I’m led to ponder is this: how can I take one step further into the light today? I want that light of the Lord to pierce my heart and transform it, with all of the beautiful, painful reconfiguring that it will require.
And I want to wash my windows because I’d like the pure, unadulterated light to fill my home more fully.