It was dark when I first stepped out of the house this morning. Really dark.
Not that I left home especially early. As is my custom, I was out the door about 6:15…headed for daily Mass at our parish.
On the way there, it occurred to me why things were so dark: We’re approaching winter solstice in the northern hemisphere—the longest night of the year. (Brilliant insight, eh? But what can I tell you…I don’t always have all my synapses firing at that time of the morning!)
So having been unnerved a bit by the pre-dawn gloom, it was a comfort to encounter the words of Psalm 27 when I said my morning prayer:
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
Even more striking, though, were the words I heard when our celebrant began the Eucharistic Prayer. He chose a version that’s used infrequently – the Eucharistic Prayer for Reconciliation.
Because the words of the Preface were unfamiliar, they drew me in…and lit a candle in the darkness I’d been experiencing to that point in my morning:
…for you do not cease to spur us on to possess a more abundant life and, being rich in mercy, you constantly offer pardon and call on sinners to trust in your forgiveness alone.
Never did you turn away from us, and, though time and again we have broken your covenant, you have bound the human family to yourself through Jesus your Son, our Redeemer, with a new bond of love so tight that it can never be undone.
Even now you set before your people a time of grace and reconciliation, and, as they turn back to you in spirit, you grant them hope in Christ Jesus and a desire to be of service to all, while they entrust themselves more fully to the Holy Spirit.
And so, filled with wonder, we extol the power of your love, and, proclaiming our joy at the salvation that comes from you…
And what do you know: All of a sudden, things didn’t seem quite so dark as they did before…as together we joined in proclaiming a hymn of praise to the Source of all Light:
Holy, holy, holy Lord God of hosts!
Heaven and earth are full of your glory!
Hosanna in the highest!