In the Dark

It is 10:20 PM.  I just walked into the pitch black emptiness of a cavernous 150 year old church which was full of life a few hours ago.  I’m on retreat at the Abbey of Gethsemani Monastery ( . There is no light, save one flickering candle 200 or so feet from my perch in the balcony.  Actually, I had to feel my way to this pew. As far as I know, I’m alone. The monks have gone to bed, but they will be back at 3:15 AM.  I love to be in in the pitch black. I’m sitting with my back against the end of the pew, with my legs spread out on the seat. I am quite comfortable, as I take in this precious moment of solitude. Watching the tiny flame flicker, I realize that I am not alone at all. I feel the presence of our majestic Creator God, the One who allows me this moment of time with Him.  I’m praying for Him to guide me to what he wants me to hear in this darkness. Hopefully, He will make me a bit more like Him and a lot less like me.

Right now, I am realizing that the blackness is lifting. As my eyes adjust, I can make out the massive wooden trusses high above me that support the roof. There are twelve. I now can see the eighteen stained glass windows, nine on each side. They are beautiful in the light of day, when the filtering sun paints glowing mosaics on the ancient, white brick walls.   Down below, I am able to make out the far away altar.  Even in the dark, it is still the central focal point in this house dedicated to God.

My experience is a metaphor of how God speaks to us when we make a sacrifice to Him of our time. When I entered a while ago, the only visual experience was the candle flickering in the darkness.  Out of the veil of blackness, God is now showing me what I formally could not see.  Likewise, God is faithful to speak to us when we slow down long enough to give Him our ear. If you are not hearing anything, most likely you are not spending enough time listening.

Something to Think About

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