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Monday, December 19, 2016

The Return of the Light




In two days, on December 21, the Winter Solstice will be upon us. This is both the first day of winter and the return of the light. It marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year. In Catholic terms, we might think of the dark night of the soul which opens into grace. The return of the sun becomes the return of the Son.

The sun shines today, as it did yesterday. And yesterday I greeted the morning with a reflection of that light in my soul. Then quickly a darkness fell upon me from without that seeped its way into my bones. The day grew cloudy, literally and metaphorically. I took a long walk in the cold and snow as the sun was setting, almost defying Nature to try and take me. But I was praying a rosary on my way, though my fingers felt that they might freeze stiff. I stopped and sat on a bench in the Rosary Garden, facing statues of an angel and the Blessed Virgin Mary being slowly covered in falling snow. My tears fell. I finally stood again before I became permanently glued to the marble I was sitting on.

A brief return of light eventually came, only to be swallowed in more darkness. I felt the failure of being only human. The limitations of understanding and forgiveness. The hands desiring to pull me into the pit of despair.

Today is a do-over. One day still alive, one day wiser. There are things on earth that Heaven alone can fix. There is very little of life in our control. But how we respond is entirely our own responsibility. Do we choose to blame another? To blame ourselves? To blame God? Or do we choose to do the next right thing? To turn our hearts more completely toward the United Hearts of Jesus and Mary. To lean not unto our own understanding nor to rely upon our own strength. No power in the world or in the abyss of hell can rob us of the joy of the Lord.

Our failures? They are a reminder that our dignity comes from being sons and daughters of Almighty God. Humility lies in surrendering our lives and wills to the Divine plan. Even if it doesn't make sense. Even if it doesn't seem fair.

Perfectionism is the most soul-sucking of modern diseases. Expecting perfection from ourselves or others is a sure path to death of the soul and the destruction of loving relationships. I failed again to speak and act perfectly in my response. But I have grown. I have done my best in my frailty and weakness. Perfectionism is the enemy, and I am a Warrior. A Priestess. A woman made in the image and likeness of God, complete in his eyes even if carrying the wounds of Eve.

Find that inner stillness and silence today. Just breathe. Anticipate the return of the Light.

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