Light and Darkness


Forgive me if I ramble a bit here, I am sort of thinking through my fingers, trying not to lose the fragments of ideas.
My husband was very upset by the Wednesday 6/4/03 episode of Fresh Air heard through NPR, upset enough that he paged me from his car to talk about it. Terry Gross was interviewing an author who was promoting Gnosticism and subtly misrepresenting church history. I haven't yet had a chance to listen to the interview. I intend to pull it out of the archives sometime in the next few days, and I may or may not have more to say about this specific issue. One thing that really upset him was her concept that the Gospel of John was nothing more than a polemic against the Gnostic 'gospel of thomas'. He also said something to me about Gnosticism and 'we are all part of the light'.
I'm on call tonight at the hospital. I was awakened for a patient, who is not in labor and was sent home, and now I am having trouble going back to sleep. I am slowly re-reading Kathleen Norris'es book The Cloister Walk, and her entries for January 10 and for Candlemas (February 2) resonated with the thoughts I have been having (since my husband's call) about Gnosticism, Christianity, and the New Age movement. (I guess I really do need to print out and read the recent encyclical on the topic - soon, soon).
Let me quote Norris - here speaking about St. Gregory of Nyssa.
What Gregory said of Moses, that he "entered the darkness and then saw God in it," that in God's sanctuary"he was taught by word what he had formerly learned in darkness," seemed to me to tell an essential truth about poetry, as well as religion. It confirmed a sense that I'd held as a child of the holy as dwelling in deep darkness, despite being told by my Sunday-school teachers that "God is Light."
The Nicene creed speaks of God who is creator of all things, visible and invisible. I always have thought the Gnostics unduly limited God by making Him purely light. He is pure light, but also pure dark. He is Alpha, and Omega, uncreated yet begotten, true God, true man, one with the Holy Spirit. In the bright light of noon, that casts no shadow, I have difficulty finding God. It is too harsh, too bright. I find comfort in the gentle enfolding dark, like the dark of the womb where light and brightness are diffused through the mother. I can feel the presence of God in the quiet stillness of the sanctuary, lit only by a few candles. The brilliance and light of Easter can only follow after the still quiet and darkness of Holy Friday and Holy Saturday.
I also keep in mind that Satan was called Lucifer, the light bearer. I wonder how many souls he has 'jack-lighted' into Hell with his uncanny beauty and attractiveness. I wonder how the New Age admonition to 'Follow the Light' - told to dying persons - actually pans out in terms of ultimate destination. I hope and pray that I can avoid becoming a 'deer in the headlights', paralyzed by the impact of an incomplete light that is not Lumen Christi.

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This page contains a single entry by alicia published on June 5, 2003 1:17 AM.

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