You my Glance Seeks (Psalm 27)

A deep, terrifying darkness enveloped Abraham. (Genesis 15:12)

The Lord had called Abraham to come to the Promised Land. God instituted a covenant with Abraham. He made promises to Abraham. Then the Lord enveloped Abraham in a “deep, terrifying darkness.”

Many centuries later, the Lord Himself walked the earth. He took His closest Apostles up to the top of a towering mountain. He revealed His divinity to them. Then He enveloped them in a cloud that cast a shadow over them. Peter, James, and John became frightened.

Frightening darkness. The good, loving Lord leads the people who are closest to Him into…the dark.

Now, wait a minute. In the beginning, God said “let there be light.” When He walked the earth, He declared, “I am the light of the world.” St. John taught us: “In God there is no darkness at all.”

Why, then, does the Eternal Light lead the people he loves into the terrifying darkness?

The Lord Jesus entered the darkness first. He went out into the desert for forty days and fasted. He became ravenously hungry, utterly exhausted, and weak. Humanly speaking, He had nothing left. Darkness enveloped Him. Satan came to tempt Him into disobedience.

The greatest battle of all takes place in darkness. When the lights are on, we can hedge our bets: We can say we love the God we don’t see, and at the same time we can love the things we see. We can go to church and eat ice cream. We can say our prayers and watch t.v. Most of the time, we are free to do both, to live in the world and with God. The Lord keeps the lights on. As long as we follow His commandments, we can enjoy life, too.

In the dark, though, when it’s scary—that’s when we have to make a choice. When we don’t see anything comforting, when we don’t see how things are going to turn out, when we don’t really know what’s going on—that’s when the either/or gets very stark.

Either I stand fast and obey the law of God, even though I don’t see any good that is going to come out of it, or I let the devil use the darkness to trick me into giving up on God.

There was a moment in each of our lives that had all the drama of this stark choice. Most of us probably don’t remember, because we were just little babies when it happened. The most dramatic event in each of our lives was our Holy Baptism.

These are the questions that our parents and godparents answered on our behalf that day:

Do you reject Satan? And all his works? And all his empty promises? Do you reject the glamour of evil? Do you refuse to be mastered by sin? Do you reject the prince of darkness?

There is a mystery here: The devil is the prince of darkness. He darkens minds. He confuses and obfuscates. But he does it by offering glamorous things. He darkens by dazzling. He confuses by enchanting. He blinds us by enticing our eyes.

Then our parents and godparents answered this question: Do you believe in God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit? Do you believe?

More mystery: God is the eternal light. But the only way to Him is through the darkness of faith. He is eternal wisdom. But He demands that we believe what we do not see. He is the great liberator, the emancipator of slaves. But He calls us to unquestioning obedience.

Lent is the time for us to turn out all the lights, sit in the dark, and choose God. Lent is when we make our baptismal promises again—in the dark depths of our hearts—with more conviction, less distraction, focused only on the essentials.

Everything that I see is passing away. Everything that comforts me on earth, every little lamp that lights up a corner of the world and makes it cozy for me—sooner or later all those lamps are going to go out, and I am going to be in a coffin.

Do I reject Satan and the passing glamour of evil? Am I content to live a humble life of unswerving faith? Do I believe in the promises of Christ and stand on them alone? Am I ready to let go of absolutely everything, if that is what obedience to God demands? Am I prepared to wait patiently, with no comfort in this world, for Christ to come again?

Scary, yes. The most basic facts of life, death, faith and sin are scary. Eternity is scary. Satan is scary. God is scary.

But I’ll tell you what, brothers and sisters. We are going to say Yes to all these questions.

We are going to say: Yes, we reject Satan and his tricks and lies and traps and nonsense. Yes, we will walk humbly with God, even if it means being subject to the buffets and spitting of the world. Yes, we will wait on Christ, trusting in His wonderful promises.

We will hold fast to the One in Whom we believe, and let go of everything else. We will stand as Christians and Catholics until the last day, no matter what happens between now and then.

You know why we can say all this with such confidence? Because we know that in the end, the light is going to come on. The darkness is not forever. Faith is not forever; humble obedience is not forever; suffering for the truth is not forever. It is all temporary.

The glory of God is forever. The Beauty of the undying truth, the Holy Face of the Savior, the splendid city of the saints—all this is forever. The Kingdom of Light is forever, the everlasting day when night comes no more. We believe and trust and wait for that light. It will be worth waiting for.

2 thoughts on “You my Glance Seeks (Psalm 27)

  1. This is a beautiful and inspiring sermon, Fr. White. Thanks for shedding light on the beauty of the darkness!

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