While preparing to lead the Lenten Meditation at Baker Memorial tomorrow (Wednesday, March 27th; all are invited) I came across a 6th-century Celtic prayer that I found profoundly motivating:
A Prayer for Love and Light
O Lord, in the name of Jesus Christ your Son our God,
give us that love which can never cease,
that will kindle our lamps but not extinguish them,
that they may burn in us and enlighten others.
O Christ, our dearest Savior, kindle our lamps,
that they may evermore shine in your temple,
that they may receive unquenchable light from you
that will enlighten our darkness,
and lessen the darkness of the world.
Lord Jesus, we pray, give your light to our lamps,
that in its light themost holy place may be revealed to us
in which you dwell as the Eternal Priest,
that we may always see you, desire you,
look on you in love, and long after you;
for your sake.
It's easy to contemplate life and the challenges and pain we face and to find solace in blaming "the darkness in the world around us" for all the negatives we experience. We look at situations and actions that run contrary to the way we have been led to act and behave through our nearness to the Word of God, and we despair that the darkness is too deep. We are tempted to look to days gone by as the "better time" that we must somehow reclaim, in order to bring things into better order and peace, perhaps even thinking that perhaps wasn't so dark back then when, in reality, we simply might not recall the darkness of yesteryear as clearly as what we experience in the here and now.
The point is, there is darkness, but not only in the world around us; it is in each of us also. The cure for this darkness is always the light of Christ that was revealed to us through His love for humanity. That is how the darkness in our own lives is dispelled, and it is how the darkness in the world around us can be dispelled also.
This prayer requests that the light of God would enlighten our darkness first, and then that we will enlighten others and lessen the darkness of the world. We have not been reconciled to God in order to horde the grace He has given us; rather we are to be instruments of God's love, grace, mercy, kindness, and forgiveness so that the eyes of others can grow accustomed to the light of Christ so that they too can recognize the reconciliation and acceptance of God.
(as published in St. Luke’s weekly newsletter, 3/26/19)