Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. Genesis 1:3
We continue with our reflection on this divine phrase – God’s very first spoken Scriptural words creating the means which makes him known naturally and spiritually to humanity.
Both kinds of light, natural and spiritual, give the soul awareness and a sense of well-being; and of course, light gives life. Without light, natural and spiritual life could not exist.
Whereas before, darkness covered the abyss of the faculties of the soul, God has “opened the eye of its abyss to the Divine light, and so had made it pleasing to Himself.” 1
God draws the soul unto himself with the light. It is the light of faith, though small like a mustard seed, 2 it is the beginning of eternal life. It is God obscurely manifesting himself to the soul in light that will continue to grow as the soul’s spiritual life matures. With the gift of the light of faith followed by the soul’s acceptance, spiritual life is affirmed.
The light of faith is the gift of spiritual sight. The information contained in the light of faith is obscure, or dark (imperceptible) to the understanding. It is by its excessive greatness that it oppresses and disables the understanding, for its power extends only to natural knowledge. 3 It could be said faith’s excessive brightness blinds the understanding like direct sunlight blinds the eyes.
Faith alone, our Saint beautifully tells us, is the “proximate and proportionate means to the understanding whereby the soul may attain to Divine union of Love. For, even as God is infinite, so faith sets Him before us as infinite; and, as He is Three in One, it sets Him before us as Three in One; and, as God is darkness to our understanding, even so does faith likewise blind and dazzle our understanding. And, thus, by this means alone, God manifests Himself to the soul in Divine light, which passes all understanding. And therefore, the greater is the faith of the soul, the more closely is it united with God. [He] must walk by faith as he journeys to Him, the understanding being blind and in darkness, walking in faith alone; for beneath this darkness the understanding is united with God, and beneath it God is hidden.” 4
The soul will subsequently use reason in addition to the light of faith to determine if it will accept God as belief through guides, study aids, etc. “What he [St. John of the Cross] endeavors to show is that the coming of knowledge through faith excludes a simultaneous coming of natural knowledge through reason, and left, as it were, in blindness, so that it may be raised to another nobler and sublime kind of knowledge, which, far from destroying reason, gives it dignity and perfection.” 5
If the gift of faith is accepted, the soul proceeds to exercise its will in making an act of belief. The man in today’s Gospel Reading did so, most magnificently and in complete totality:
Jesus gifts the light of faith to a sinner sitting at his trade, saying to him, “follow me.” The man sitting at his post signifies dwelling in darkness; his customs post being the source of his sin through which he extorted. The gift of faith accepted, the man got up, left everything and followed Jesus – the Light of the world.
The link below will take you to the complete Gospel Reading, as well as Reading 1 and the Responsorial Psalm:
The USCCB has not reviewed or approved my comments on the Biblical text.