Saturday, July 23, 2011

We Create His Shadow

The Lord is my light and my salvation, of whom shall I be afraid? Ps 27:1

In various places in the Old Testament it is said that man cannot look upon the face of God; to do so is to die. So man turns away from the face of God, but God still shines on him, and when the man looks down, he sees before him only a shadow. It seems to be his shadow, for it looks much like him, but it is really a shadow of the Light of God, for the darkness he are looking at is but a small fraction of all the immense light around it. We all so often focus on our small shadow, and say: “Look what I’ve done”, and ignore the Light all around us. We are so foolish in giving glory to ourselves, when we really didn’t do anything at all.

I suspect much of our life is that way. God provided us the talents; God provided us the opportunities; God provided us the wisdom and graces. All we did was to use what He provided, and then became kind of like the backstage helper wanting to take the bow, when the real acting was done by someone else. There is very little, I suspect, that we can honestly take a bow for. But one of those things might be our children. They are one of the most important parts of our being; God has given us the opportunity to partake in His act of creation---- and in His constant act of loving His creation. He wishes us to join Him in heaven, and He has made amazing sacrifices for us to do that, and He has spent ages patiently trying to teach us what needs be done to join Him there. And He would be most pleased if we did likewise with our children. He loves us in the most grand ways, and in the littlest too. And as He loves, we should do likewise.

The other day at mass the priest was raising the host at the consecration, one of the most important moments of the mass, as Jesus’ sacrifice is re-offered to the Father. The entire church was in silent reverence at the moment, praying with the priest, making an offering with Jesus to our Father. And then, in the silence, the voice of a young child cried out: “Abba!”

I couldn’t stop my eyes from glancing a few pews over where the young boy, cradled in his father’s arms, was still raising his hands toward his father’s face. The word was so clear, I don’t think it was a child’s blubbering, but a word his father had taught him to say, to teach him a word that means love and dependence, an important word.

In this littlest way, this loving way, the father taught his child --- and became a witness to the whole church.

And as He loves, we should do likewise.

You know now what is more excellent: light is preferable to shadow, reality to its symbol, the body of the Giver to the manna He gave from heaven. - St. Ambrose


  1. Take a bow for our children, how interesting. I don't think I could ever do that as far as my own children are concerned, I'd rather let God have all the credit, after all, they were His children before they were mine, and even after they were mine, they are still always His. And, if they spoil the gift of their lives with bad behavior or unbelief, am I to blame? That's a heavy weight for a parent. Excellent post, Tom!

  2. I don't dispute anything you say, Anne, you have so many good insights. (However, I did say you "might" take a bow --- :-) )

    Stay tuned, because I have more to say on this subject, and I think it is an important one. My thoughts started on Mother's day, and the importance of mothers and life, and continued with Why Was I Born, but I have a need to say more on the value of life, and our participation in creating it and nourishing it. Love of Neighbor was a commandment second to love of God; it's so very important. And while mothers take a pre-eminent role in it, we all partake in God's creation and valuation of each and every life.