Throughout history and among many spiritual traditions the divine has been associated with light. In our continuing exploration of the attributes of God found listed in the apocryphal book of Wisdom (7:15-22), let’s spend a little time with this beautiful description:
Wisdom is a reflection of eternal light, a spotless mirror of the working of God,
and an image of God’s goodness.
Wisdom, in Hebrew literature, is a female energy described as God’s delight and God’s companion. She reflects God in all of God’s goodness. She reflects God’s light.
What does it mean to say that God is Light?
Light refers to illumination — figuratively or literally. In metaphorical terms it can mean we are filled with understanding, acceptance and discernment. We “see” the light in a certain situation. In literal terms, when our way is lighted, we see where we are going. We are less likely to stumble in the light than we might in darkness. Also, we know that just a little bit of light can offer a lot of illumination in darkness — just light a candle in a dark room and within minutes, as your eyes adjust, you can see your way around.
In spiritual direction, when a person doesn’t want to use “God language,” I will draw their attention to places in their life and their story where they encountered insight, illumination or meaning. I, as spiritual director, feel free to think in terms of God being the author of this light without insisting they see it in the same way.
When we encounter deep meaning, significance and insight, we are encountering wisdom — a reflection of eternal light.
Christians know Jesus called us “the light of the world” and that the gospel of John names the Logos, or word (the writer’s metaphor for Jesus) as the Light that penetrates the darkness.
If you or someone you discuss faith issues with have difficulty seeing God as a person, that’s OK. Talk about where Divine Light shows up in your life.
- Where do you feel the path before you illuminated?
- When did you last feel the gift of insight into a situation or event?
- What gives your life meaning and purpose?
- When did you “see the Light” in a particular situation?
With all the beautiful scripture passages about the attributes of God and Wisdom, there is no need to limit the Divine to just one or two names. Allow Divine Light to reveal itself to you as many names.
Teresa Blythe is a Phoenix based spiritual director, author and trainer of apprentice spiritual directors. To learn more about spiritual direction, check out her book Spiritual Direction 101. For a primer on spiritual practices, look at her first book, 50 Ways to Pray. Her website www.teresablythe.net contains a lot of information about the art and practice of spiritual direction.