Benedictine Spirituality Christ Gospel Prayer Presentation Scripture Uncategorized

Bearers of Light

Image by Steph684 from

Apologies for the lateness of this post. I’ve been having technical issues. Today we’re celebrating the feast of the Presentation. It strikes me as a feast that looks both backwards and forwards. Its liturgy resonates very much with the Christmas liturgy, as we revisit Christmas hymns and antiphons. Yet, it also compels us to look forward to the new beginning heralded by the coming of the Messiah. Like Simeon and Anna, we are called to draw hope from our heritage and move forward into the unknown bearing the light of Christ for our world and our times. The second reading last night at the vigil was from St Sophronius. Today I have found myself reflecting on these words:

Let us all go together bright with the light to welcome with old Simeon that everlasting shining light. Rejoicing with him in our souls, let us sing a hymn to the Begetter and Father of the light, who has sent the true light and driven away the darkness and made us all shine with that light.”

It’s not the first time I’ve reflected on them, and each time I revisit them they remind me that, in these last dark, cold days of winter we are called to be bearers of the light of Christ to each other and to the world. This year I’m very aware of the many darknesses that the world faces. It can feel overwhelming and we can easily feel hopeless.

Yet the opposite is true. In these dark times it’s even more important that we become bearers of that light for our suffering world. As well as looking back to the coming of the Light at Christmas I find myself looking forward through the pain and suffering of these times to the new light and life that Easter promises, trusting that, however small the light may sometimes feel, it will not be overcome.

As we celebrate the feast of the Presentation where is Christ calling you to be his light bearer today?

Benedictine Spirituality Christmastide Gospel Lectio Divina Presentation Prophetic voices Scripture Uncategorized

Light in the shadows

Photo by Marie Couffon de Trevros on Unsplash

As we celebrate the feast of the Presentation I’m finding myself drawn to the prophetess Anna. She captures something of the essence of this feast which always seems to me to be a combination of shadow and light. In many ways Anna is a very shadowy figure. An older woman and a widow it’s easy to see how she might be overlooked, pushed into the background by people with more importance or louder voices. Yet that’s not the picture Luke paints for us.

She is a woman grounded in the faith of her people, a prophetess who has spent her life in the Temple worshipping and praising God. Like Simeon she recognises that the child being presented is no ordinary child, but the long awaited Messiah:

“She came up just at that moment and began to praise God; and to speak about the child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem.”

Far from a shadowy figure Luke presents a wise woman, who is able to recognise and proclaim the presence of God with confidence. She is no stranger to suffering and loss, having experienced both in her long life. She knew what it meant to keep on hoping even when hope seemed lost in the long shadows of hopelessness. It is out of these shadowy and sometimes painful experiences that she is able to recognise the presence of Christ, the promise light of the world in the most unlikely of circumstances.

As we celebrate the feast of the Presentation how does the light of Christ break through the shadows in your life?