Monday in the Fifth Week of Lent at Mississippi Abbey
Jesus said, “Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” To be impressed by that, one would have to know what it is like to walk in darkness.
Jesus says, “I am the light of the world.” Bishop Robert Baron says, “Christianity is, above all, a way of seeing.” So those of us who have walked in darkness have a disorder of perception. We see things in the light of self and self’s need for satisfaction. Since God made us that way, it’s not a bad thing; it’s just not the only thing. The consumerist culture we come from says it is the only thing. So, what is this new light Jesus offers us?
The perception Jesus is offering us is a new way to value, to determine the worthiness of what we encounter and what we are living toward. In the gospel of John “to see” means “to believe.” So, he reports Jesus as saying, “Whoever believes me believes the One Who sent Me…and will have eternal life…” He calls us to perceive that value.
In perceiving the value of a relationship with the Father one must have the mind of Christ: “Have this mind in you…” That mind begins with the awareness that God first loved us.
Aware of that and desiring to respond, we then become deliberate and selective about our attention. Our attention is a way of giving ourselves to a person or situation. It is not a good sign to walk away from someone witnessing to God’s love and think, “I wonder who does her hair?” When we walk in darkness we see things lightly…light in importance. Its effect on us is immediate, certain and…short-lived. That can be a good thing because it helps us perceive the contrast between the darkness and the enduring light of Christ. As Christians and as monastic’s we act, pray and worship differently because…we see differently. Our whole way of being in the world is different from before. Seeing with the mind of Christ we can live in the light of what matters most.