light in darkness

May 6, 2020

“I came into the world as light,
so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness”.
John 12

Children are often afraid of the dark but soon grow out of this as parents assure them that there is nothing to be scared of,  putting them to bed with rituals of checking for monsters and leaving a door open with the passage light on.

While the children might grow out of their night-time fears they soon discover that daylight brings its own darknesses. As adults we have experienced this, suffering the consequences of our own bad choices and bearing the brunt of the words and actions of others.

A century ago the night / day rhythm of our planet was a familiar companion: the full light and energy of daytime activity becoming dusk carrying the world into the sleep of night which in time becomes the dawn of a new day.

In this twenty-first century the night hours can be avoided with lights and screens. The darkness we might feel at the end of a tough day or in the long night hours is easily escaped, perhaps by binge watching  a TV series featuring the often over-dramatised episodes of other people’s darkness.

You will have heard of some who tell of experiencing a ‘dark night of the soul.’  Initially we think of the dark in our lives as an absence of a positive happy feeling, losing  the light. Perhaps we think of the darkness as a place without divine presence?

But the wise teachers remind us that the dark night of the soul is not a place of the absence of God, simply a place of the absence of the feeling of God.

The fact is that even when we feel darkness, God is still present and therefore we have nothing to fear.

In the darkness we can realise again that our greatest need is not to possess or even to see the light, but to be in the presence and embrace of the ONE who knows better than ourselves where we desire to go by day and by night.

“I am the light of the world, says the Lord;
whoever follows me will have the light of life”.
John 12


An Invitation:

  • Take a few moments to consider these quotations. Which do you find most encouraging:

Thomas Merton

“And it is in this darkness, when there is nothing left in us that can please or comfort our own minds, when we seem to be useless and worthy of all contempt, when we seem to have failed, when we seem to be destroyed and devoured, it is then that the deep and secret selfishness that is too close to us for us to identify is stripped away from our souls. It is in this darkness that we find liberty. It is in this abandonment that we are made strong. This is the night which empties us and makes us pure”. 

Pope Francis:

“Faith is not a light which scatters all our darkness, but a lamp which guides our steps in the night and suffices for the journey. To those who suffer, God does not provide arguments which explain everything; rather, his response is that of an accompanying presence, a history of goodness which touches every story of suffering and opens up a ray of light”. 

C.S. Lewis

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it but because by it, I see everything else.”

  • Let’s pray for those in need. Each day I invite FFF readers to pray for those whose names or initials I receive as intentions. I will also offer Mass for these intentions. Send your prayer requests to Each day I will add the initials of those we pray for to the list as here:

Let us pray today especially for:
JL,  SM,  PR,  MJ,  MD,  



The Lectio and Pray to Sleep recordings have been much more popular than I imagined so over the next few weeks I will try to improve the quality of these by getting some real recording hardware. Watch this space and thanks for coping with the low quality at the moment.  Also sorry for the blip in the 15 minute reflections over the past couple of days – the last five minutes of the recording vanished. Fixed today.

Pictures received of any churches that have been significant in your faith journey will be included as the images on the daily Lectio Divina links. Send to

Today’s pic Holy Trinity Church, Westbury, Tasmania. Australia. Thanks Helena. 

Wednesday Easter Week IV (15 minutes)

Wednesday Easter Week IV  (25 minutes)


  1. A very good piece John, thought provoking but simple to understand at 630am. Thank you.

  2. I love serendipity. Before I received your email, I’d been sitting gazing at the sky hoping see the meteor shower in the eastern sky. I think I saw a couple.
    At times like this I regret living in a city – where the glare of the artificial light gets in the way of the night sky; ditto the light of a computer screen!
    When I was a child, living on a farm, far from city lights, I used to love going out and lying on a nearby hillside, gazing up into the glow of the Milky Way. Sometimes the sky seemed to almost pulsate with light. Prayer can be a bit like that; but then the busyness of day-to-day living intrudes.
    Thank you God for another day.

  3. Thank you for all your efforts for us. They are an encouragement and so they are supportive. Blessings and to every one. God is for us. Let us continue to reach out in creative ways and enable meaning to all of our days.

  4. Thank you – another beautifully written reflection. I love the words from CS Lewis. A friend shared that quotation with me more than 30 years ago. I come back to it frequently. It encapsulates faith for me.

  5. I like the quote from Thomas Merton best. It helped me understand the reason for the seeming darkness in my life.
    Listening to lecto Divinia each day encourages me to remember that whether I feel it or not Jesus is present.
    Such a cause for hope

  6. I like the quote from Thomas Merton. It helped me understand the reason for the darkness I have experienced in my own life.
    Following lecto divina has encourage me with the assurance that whether or not I feel it Jesus IS present.
    With much gratitude, thank you.


  7. Thank you Fr John for your daily presentation.
    Sitting alone, but not alone as I’m in the presence of the Lord, your reflections and meditations keep me very grounded.
    Thomas Merton is an old friend. When I was doing my theology studies some years ago, he was my bed partner – as I read many of his books and lessons, as I would go into a stage of darkness – night time – sleep. SKJ

  8. Once more you speak directly to my heart.
    Thank you for the reassurance and positive messages from those who Know!

  9. I am not sure that the quotes are comparable as to me they each provide a different idea. Thomas Merton on how to survive in the darkness, Pope Francis suggesting that there is still light within the darkness, and CS Lewis that the light is always there.
    I will ponder these during my day and hope that the combination of the three will help me find the true light (Jesus).
    Thank you Father John !

  10. Thank you Fr John!

  11. Thank you Father, as always your words give me strength.

    Blessings to you and keep safe in your Bubble – we need you.


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