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24th May: The Lighting of the Lamps

You are the light of the world. Matthew 5:14

Most of life is routine, even in hospital or in medical practice. Rarely is life exciting; often it is dull. Sometimes, as the light of a day fades, the dusk settles heavily on us, and we know what T S Eliot (in his Preludes) means by 'the burnt-out ends of smoky days'. Weary of doing, we sink under the weight of oncoming night, imprisoned by the ordinary things. Eliot's poem concludes:

The showers beat
On broken blinds and chimney-pots,
And at the corner of the street
A lonely cab horse steams and stamps.
And then the lighting of the lamps.

The change is sudden and vivid: 'And then the lighting of the lamps'. The darkness is pushed back. The shadowy shapes take on meaning again. Brains clear, voices brighten, hearts lift. And we go on.

The greatest darkness is that which settles about the soul, weighing down hearts, befogging minds, insisting on the futility of life. But Jesus Christ says: 'I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life' (Jn 8:12).

Do you ever think how the evening settles down about your patients' hearts, with pain, loneliness, worry or fear? Is your coming the 'lighting of the lamps' to them? It can be, though it need not be self-consciously so. Certainly it should not be sanctimoniously so. The Saviour's statement, 'You are the light of the world', becomes true in fact as (and only as) his followers look to him with unclouded eyes and hear him say: 'I am the light of the world'.

He alone is the true light. It is the glory of the moon to burst into light, reflecting the sun's splendour, at the very moment of dusk when the sun is slipping from the sight of the world.

Lord Jesus, true light of the world, shine in our hearts,
we pray: so that your light may push back the darkness
from our souls and may be reflected into the hearts of
others to dispel their darkness.

Further reading: Mt 5:14-16. Jn 1:1-9.


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