Shortly before the 2013 conclave that would elect him as Pope Francis I, then Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio urged his fellow cardinals to remember that Christians should live by the light of the moon rather than of the sun. Followers of Christ should reflect the source of light rather than acting as if they are the source. With regard to the hierarchy of the religious structure he would soon be elected to lead, he said that the Church exists to reflect Christ—as soon as it believes it is itself the light, disaster occurs and the Church becomes an idol.
In the gospels, followers of Jesus are told that we “are the light of the world.” But the difference between the light of the sun and the light of the moon is both striking and, I think, relevant to understanding the nature of faith. I explore these matters in an essay published earlier this week by Bearings, the online magazine of the Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research in Collegeville, Minnesota. Enjoy!