God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” Genesis 1:5
Spiritually, “Day” is associated with reason, using information gleaned from the body’s five senses of sight, sound, touch, taste and smell.
Spiritually, “Night” is associated with spiritual knowledge that begins with faith, which is given passively by God to individual souls without the illumination of the understanding.
Holy Scripture beautifully sums up Day and Night, Reason and Faith, in Psalm 19:
Day pours out the word to day,
and night to night imparts knowledge. Psalm 19:3
The soul in the spiritual “night” is ideally a movement toward greater faith, hope and charity culminating in union with God. Saint John illustrates the movement through the spiritual night with three stages: The beginning of this night is the night of sense during which the first major conversion from sin and bondage to the senses takes place. It is called night due to the privation and purgation of the soul’s senses and is represented by the time of the night just after dusk when sensible objects can no longer be seen, a perfect comparison. The second part is the night of faith. It is compared to midnight since it is farthest from the daylight of reason, leaving the understanding in darkness. In the coming days we shall see these first two parts of the night happen with the Israelites release from the Egyptians in Exodus. The third part of the night, when it is still dark but preceding dawn, is the dark night of the soul when God’s bestows his mystical prayer called contemplation. When these three parts of the night are almost over, God begins to illumine the soul with his Divine light, which is the beginning of the perfect union with him that follows – when it is nearer to dawn and the light of day, which is compared to God. 1
The light of faith, as said, has three primary functions: it gathers, guides and guards. Faith gathers together God’s people to worship, learn the Faith, and to serve others. Second, faith is a guide for the spiritual journey; leading the soul toward and ever deepening relationship with God and eternal life; for faith is the beginning of eternal life. Third, faith guards by its protection and concealment against the devil, 2 whose goal is to prevent that from happening. In this part of Genesis, we’ll look at faith as a guide; specifically with God’s example of Israel’s exodus from Egypt when we continue tomorrow.
If “gather, guide and guard” resonates familiarity, it is because they are the attributes of the Good Shepherd himself and light of the world, Jesus Christ.
The USCCB has not reviewed or approved my comments on the Biblical text.
In today’s Gospel Reading, Jesus teaches us how to pray the Our Father, bringing faith into our everyday lives. This link will take you to the USCCB website and directly to today’s Daily Readings:
We will take a short break and continue on Thursday, February 22.