The brightness of God emanates onto the world. It
descends into and penetrates the human souls. We dare think that it penetrates
not only the souls of Christians, but also the souls of those whose hearts
yearn upward, who thirst for the knowledge of God.
It is important to remember that the words
"light of faith" are not only a "symbol" of the experience
of faith. They express the genuine enlightenment or brilliance of the
soul. That same St. Gregory the Theologian gives us the following examples
of this faith, expressed in the Psalms in the Old Testament, in his words on
the feast of Epiphany ("the Feast of Light"):
eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death" (Ps.
"Light is sown
for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart" (Ps. 96:11).
"Thou art more
glorious and excellent than the mountains of prey" (Ps. 75:4).
"The Lord is my
light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? (Ps.
"O send out Thy
light and Thy truth: let them lead me" (Ps.
"Lord, lift thou
up the light of Thy countenance upon us" (Ps. 4:6)
"In Thy light we
shall see light" (Ps. 36:9).
In the New Testament Church this shining
light is stronger and more abundant. It was prophesied by the prophet Isaiah:
"Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the
light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day
that the Lord bindeth up the breach of His people" (30:26)… And also:
"Arise, shine; for Thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen
upon thee…and the Gentiles shall come to thy light" (60:1-3).
The fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy is noted in
the first lines of the Gospel, particularly in the Gospel from John, in the
first Easter reading, which is the beginning of the annual Liturgical Gospel
readings. In this reading, the words about the appearance of Light into the
world are repeated six times, as if proclaiming the light of God’s love to the
entire world (1, 4,5,7-9).
The Savior taught His disciples: "You are
the light of the world…Let your light so shine before men, that they may see
your good works…" (Matt. 5:14, 16). And about Himself to the
Pharisees: "I am the Light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of
life" (John )
We cannot forego mentioning the Apostolic
letters to the newly converted, at least briefly.
The Apostle Peter thus describes the meaning of
entering Christ’s Church: "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal
priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the
praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous
light" (1 Peter 2:9).
The Apostle John the Theologian: "For the
Life was manifested, and we have seen It, and bear witness, and she unto you
that eternal Life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us…God is
Light…If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one
with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all
sin" (1 John 1).
The Apostle Paul: "Ye shine as lights in
the world" (Philippians ).
"For God, who commanded the light to shine
out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge
of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Cor. 4:6).
"But we all, with open face beholding as
in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to
glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (2 Cor. 3:18).
"Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither
have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them
that love Him" (1 Cor. 2:9)
Together with this illumination of the soul, this
elevated enlightenment of reason, the Word of the Bible teaches us, a joy,or breath of bliss, is introduced into the soul.
"Light is sown for the righteous, and
gladness for the upright in heart"
(Ps. 126, Ps. 96).
St. John the Forerunner says of himself: "The friend of the
bridegroom… rejoiceth greatly…this my joy therefore is
fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease." (John 3:29-30) (in matters of public service). The Apostle Paul, when
confessing about himself: "I am crucified with Christ" (Gal. ) (such were the troubles caused by the enemies of his
preaching), is filled with Christian joy and passes this on to his spiritual
children: "Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say: Rejoice."
(Phil 4:4). "My brethren dearly beloved and longed
for, my joy and crown" (Phil. 4:1). This message from his
letters to the Philippians is present as well in his other holy letters.
Christ’s confidant, the Apostle John, expresses this more strongly: "And
these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full."
(1 John 1:4). We see here the truth that a growing moral perfection is accompanied
accordingly with a joyous state of the soul. Concurrently, as we see even from
these short excerpts from the epistles, there is a growth of love, of a loving,
meek, and kind attitude towards everyone. In addition, those striving toward
the Light clearly see their own defects, and even more so their downfalls, they
are not enamored of their own acts. This produces a natural noble humility, and
particularly, the fear of God is instilled, which is expressed in the 85th
Psalm, as well as in the priest’s prayer during vespers: "May my heart rejoice to fear Thy name." Such is the
specter of a Christian’s spiritual states. This is what "Living in the
Light"means. Thus the Light of God is poured out into the