Bathed in Light

Time change reminds me of my human frailty.  The alarm on Sunday morning woke me to the dark, pulling me out of a deep sleep.

I’m told we go on Daylight Savings Time because of the farmers, because they needed more daylight in the later hours rather than the earlier.  So we rob the first light to add to the last light.  We save electricity this way too, I’m told, although it seems we still rise at the same hour and need to use electricity.  And in warm climates, folks run their air conditioners longer at the end of the day.

Nevertheless, whatever the reason for this custom, we have retained it, and my body and mind are pulled from their winter habit to be molded into a summer one.  Soon it won’t make any difference, of course, as the days lengthen, and we slip into spring, the earth turning slowly toward the sun, orbiting in its gentle arc.

The moon has been full and bright as the sun, turning the night to day… “for darkness is no darkness with thee, the night is as clear as the day…” I repeat the words of my Psalm 139, branding my heart.  But in the light we can see, and others can see us.  In the light we cannot hide.  “Whither shall I go then from thy spirit… whither shall I go then from thy presence?”

Will heaven be so light-filled that we shrink, searching for shadow?  Will we be forced to see the whole truth about ourselves?  The light of truth?  “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”  Only in this light can we truly repent, and only when we truly repent, can we live.

Purgatory makes sense.  We see ourselves as we truly are.  We are washed and scrubbed to be suitable for Paradise, made ready to see the Face of God.  We are purged.

A friend died this week.  She was ninety-four and bedridden for some time, but I have known her for some fifty years.  We were not close but long time acquaintances, as members of the Body of Christ, and I thought how time, the accrual of many greetings and concerns and Sunday conversations and ladies’ teas and boutiques had drawn her close to my heart.  Her smile was broad and welcoming; she lent a quiet air of elegance to our gatherings; she laughed a lot.  I loved her.

She must now be in Purgatory, and praying for those of us left behind on earth to sort things out as best we can.

She has joined the vast Communion of Saints that have gone before us, to whom we pray for their prayers, that in this Lent in the year of Our Lord 2012 we can face our true selves and repent, that we can move out of the dark of night into the light of day. We pray that we may be purged, and in the scrubbing, we may grow strong, donning new habits of light, so that we can embrace the cross and run to the empty tomb, so that we may rise with him on our own Easter mornings.

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