I’ve finished my series on “Bootstrapping the Interior Life” for the time being; and as I want to keep my Sunday posts for matters involving the life of faith, I’ve decided to spend the next series of Sundays reading through Pope Francis’ encyclical Lumen Fidei, “The Light of Faith”. I’m not planning any kind of definitive commentary (as if I were qualified to write one); rather, I’ll be reflecting on the text in the context of the daily life of faith.
Today I want to point out something about the nature of light. Light is bright and shining and glorious; it has always naturally evoked goodness and the divine, so much so that we might have trouble seeing phrases like “the forces of light” and the “forces of darkness” as anything but trite.
But light is more than that. Light is what we see by. When we are perplexed, we welcome anything that “casts light on the subject”.
Theologians and philosophers refer to the “natural light of reason”, that faculty that allows us to understand and make sense of the world around us. Our reason casts light on the world.
It is in this sense, I think, rather than any sentimental Hollywood sense, that Pope Francis uses the phrase “the light of faith”: faith in God truly does cast light on the world around us, the world God created, and on our place in it. It’s in that light that we are to live our lives as Christians.