During my college days, I received a unique audio CD featuring the voice of Pope John Paul II that included a mixture of prayers and music in various languages. Although only fluent in English, I just love hearing his voice. On one occasion, JPII quotes a passage from John, “Every one who does wrong hates the light, and avoids it, for fear his actions should be exposed. But the man who lives by truth comes out into the light, so that it may be clearly seen that what he does is done in God (John 3:20-21).
My friends, this is exactly what we have set out to accomplish. Our journey into great freedom is a journey into great light. God illuminates our eyes to experience a new perspective – his perspective. Sin has lost its power and death has lost its sting (see 1 Corinthians 15:55). We have sought to put to death the disordered desires and persistent passions within us and diminish the gravitational pull towards the flesh, the world and the devil. It’s now time to come out of the shadows and into the freedom of the sons and daughters of God!
St. John of the Cross likens this transition in the spiritual life of coming out of the Purgative state and into the Illuminative state as a prison-break, “In this new state, as one liberated from a cramped prison cell, it goes about the things of God with much more freedom and satisfaction of spirit and with more abundant interior delight...The soul readily finds...a very serene, loving contemplation and spiritual delight” (The Dark Night of the Soul, 11.20.4).
Gaining wisdom from our ancestors, let us not spend forty years lost in the darkness of sin like the Israelites did! Through the grace and power of the Cross, we seek to break out of our self-inflicted prison much quicker. I don’t suggest that you or I will never sin again, but what I do put forward is that we grow daily in freedom. That the power of sin does not overwhelm us and keep us in bondage. That we live in the light and freedom of God, free to choose right over wrong and take back control of our passions. That we allow the Spirit of God to guide our hearts and restore our minds with a new sense of clarity. As the scales of our sin are reduced and obliterated, our darkened intellect and weakened will shall experience an absolute and outright transformation, culminating with a satisfying inner harmony and perpetual peace that can only come from the living God. Disorder returns to order. Shame is converted into holy audacity and humble confidence in the Lord. Fear is replaced by unshakable trust.
Some give in to the temptation that the Illuminative state is not for them but only the super-holy souls like nuns, priests or deacons, apathetically believing that they will never truly rid themselves of their sins or addictions, so why even try. Let us expose any of these clouded thought processes to the light, and let God’s illuminating power shine on every corner of our lives until the lies are burned away.
Emptied out from the toils of our holy expedition, let us bask in the light of Christ and allow the warmth of his light to dispel away any darkness that remains.
• “O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord” (Isaiah 2:5). • “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined” (Isaiah 9:2). • “I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). • “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth; but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:5-8). • “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it...The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world” (John 1:5-9).