– Beauty: A Riot of Color in a Dreary Gray World

Fans of Heath Ledger will recognize this phrase from one of my favorite films, A Knight’s Tale. In the film, Jocelyn, one of the main characters, comments that she comes to cathedrals for two reasons: Confession and the glass. The glass, as she so eloquently puts it, is “a riot of color in a dreary gray world.”

I have always loved this line. How accurate, insightful and Catholic! Stained glass has always had a multitude of purposes. Practically speaking, it’s a window, meant to let in light and keep out the wind. The glass often tells a story. The earliest stained glass were designed as instructional tools to help a mostly illiterate population learn the stories of the Bible and saints. As history and architecture advanced, the word “multipurpose” hardly does justice to all these windows were capable of.

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Daily Graces.

December 21, 2016 – Light

O Radiant Dawn,
splendor of eternal light, sun of justice:
come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the
shadow of death.

In yesterday’s antiphon, the last line said “come and free the prisoners of darkness!” What could be a more beautiful description than a radiant dawn banishing the darkness of our lives.

We have walked from the kingship of David into a dark time in Israel’s history. The kingdom split, leaving 10 tribes in the north (the Kingdom of Israel) and 2 tribes in the south (the Kingdom of Judah). Even to this day, scholars are not sure what happened to the 10 tribes in the north. They know that the Assyrians came and conquered the northern kingdom, but there are minimal records, if any, about what happened to the people. In the south, the Kingdom of Judah was also conquered but by the Babylonians. These last two tribes are what the Bible, specifically the Old Testament, primarily follows. As you might have already guessed, the fate of the chosen people was pretty grim. It’s no wonder that they were looking for the Emmanuel, the Messiah

How appropriate that today, the darkest day of the year, is the day that we celebrate Jesus, the coming Light of the World – O Radiant Dawn.

Each of us have dark corners, places we are not proud of and would rather not others know about. In his Catholicism series, Bishop Robert Barron talks about the windshield of a car as similar to our lives. When we are driving in the dark with no light our windshield looks nearly spotless. It would be easy to deceive ourselves into thinking that perhaps we have no problem spots, no reason to evaluate how our lives are going. However, when we are driving toward the light we can see every imperfection, every problem, every area where we need to grow, change and transform.

What is beautiful about our God is that when we orient ourselves toward His light, it is not glaring or harsh. Rather, God’s light is full of love and splendor. Yes, we see the places where we fall short, but in the sight of God’s love and mercy we can see that there is a way forward. There is forgiveness, mercy and compassion. We are freed from our imprisonment to sin as we step forward into God’s glorious light.

*** Please feel free to share your experience, thoughts and offer support to one another in the comments, on Twitter with the #DailyGraces or on the Facebook pageDaily Graces.