"LET THERE BE LIGHT” Gen: 1, 3


As we move into another year we cannot help thinking back on how 2016 has been for us. When we gaze on the brokenness of our world we see family traumas, political as well as geographical earthquakes, war, acts of terrorism, endless streams of refugees and the trafficking of human beings. Life has become so precarious that we feel we can no longer secure the lives of those whom we love, our future or our environment. We feel helpless and wonder how we can ever maintain hope in the face of so much overwhelming darkness. It is so easy to forget about the small fragile light that appeared in the darkness of Christmas night and of the words uttered by the Divine at the beginning of time when the earth was a formless wasteland "Let there be light,” and there was light.  In the world’s darkest hour, light comes. As I was thinking these thoughts my eyes rested on a weed pushing its way through a crack in a concrete surface. It had been drawn to a tiny chink of light and was thriving in spite of unbelievable hardship. During the course of the week, I have become aware of growth in places where one would least expect. I saw a tree making its way through the roof of an abandoned house, grass and weeds breathing life and vibrancy into metal pipes, disused cars, old boots and in parking lots covered with tarmac. These awe inspiring plants had to accept the darkness for a long period, patiently waiting for light to provide the direction before they could blossom forth. The smallest chink brought hope and showed them the way to free themselves from the harsh circumstances and germinate new life unnoticed. These resilient plants teach us to follow the light and keep hoping despite adversity and darkness. They challenge us to rethink and refocus and invite us to direct our gaze towards the light, and be light for others rather than being observers or commentators of disaster. Our experiences of hardship, tragedy and illness can provide courage, tenacity and a healing light to traumatic situations with an authenticity that leaves no room for pious platitudes. However bleak and difficult life can be, let us follow the ray of light, no matter how small, and leave footholds for others to find the way.  Bonheoffer appeals to our faith: "We must hope when there is no reason to hope.”   Catherine O’ Sullivan IJS, Coolea 

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