“Let there be light”

We are told that God on the first day of creation commands, “Let there be light,” but this is not the sun or the moon or the stars. “Let there be light” is the transcendent creative light that is present as the basic energy of everything that exists (see Genesis 1:3).

All other lights are secondary compared to this one. It is that light that is the source of the spiritual nature of our being. It is that light that dwells in us as our inmost spiritual nature, and that is the light that will judge us at the time of our passing from this earthly life. Our own inner light will be our judge and show us exactly who we are and the true state of our relationship with God.

In order to prepare for that moment and to cultivate the light, a practice of relating to God at the level that can access this spiritual light is an important aspect of religion. The essential job of religion is to facilitate and support us in the journey into the light, which is synonymous with the true self.

The point of discussing it is to make ourselves aware of the height, length, breadth, and depth of the love of Christ in taking on our human nature. The concerns, distractions, achievements, ambitions, and other human activities are often monumental, awesome, and frightening. And yet, compared to God’s plan, they are nothing at all.

The contemplative vision perceives God even in the midst of disaster, turmoil, or personal failure. It never loses hope because its hope is not based on human events but on the divine goodness, which is infinitely powerful and infinitely merciful. Theological hope makes even the greatest of sinners candidates for the highest beatitude. It takes God only a moment to transform someone, as in the case of the Good Thief (see Luke 23:39–43).

Centering prayer brings us into the movement of contemplation. We sit down to consent, and the first thing we do is forget about everything we were concerned about.

From Thomas Keating, “Consenting to God as God Is”

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