Years ago, when we were still at Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Alabama with Mother Angelica, severe weather and tornado warnings were a common occurrence. Each time the sirens sounded, Rev. Mother gathered us all together and – as a community – we prayed the Prologue of St. John’s Gospel.
Tornadoes and such do not threaten us very much here in the Valley of the Sun. As I look out the window today, on this Solemnity of St. Joseph, it’s a beautiful day: the birds are singing and the sun is shining. Yet, though the skies are clear, as we are all very aware, there is another storm raging: COVID-19. And so, once again Rev. Mother (this time, Mother Marie Andre) is gathering us together each day to pray – as a community – the Prologue of St. John’s Gospel.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him: and without him was made nothing that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to give testimony of the light, that all men might believe through him. He was not the light, but was to give testimony of the light. That was the true light, which enlighteneth every man that cometh into this world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, he gave them power to be made the sons of God, to them that believe in his name. Who are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we saw his glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
The prologue sums up the whole Christian message. In a way, it is the cornerstone for the entire Gospel and the lens through which we read all of the New Testament. Through the Prologue, we are given eyes to see the power of God in visible, historical events. This same Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscient God is with us now in the historical events in which we find ourselves today. Whether we (or loved ones) are suffering from the virus itself or from ramifications from the efforts to halt its spread, we can TRUST that God is with us. In sickness, fear, anxiety, concern, perplexity, uncertainty, change, loneliness, and inconvenience: “The Light Shineth in the Darkness.”
“But as many as received Him, He gave them power to be made sons of God, to them that believe in His Name…”
In the silence of prayer we hear the invitation to “receive” Our Lord in the midst all that is happening – perhaps not in the way we are accustomed to receive him (by way the Holy Eucharist) – but to receive Him as the Word dwelling among us – within us – in all of our messiness, as Light in our darkness. We are invited to receive Him in the obedience of faith. We are invited to receive Him into the places of our hearts that are most affected by all that is transpiring. We are invited to allow Him to dwell among us and to see His glory.
When we proclaim this Gospel, pray this Gospel, as a community – with one voice – there is a tangible sense of the power of God, the presence of God, and the salvific love of God. We are praying the Prologue at our daily Holy Hours and – as a community – after Night Prayer. We pray for our loved ones, for our benefactors, for our Diocese, for the Church, for the world, for those most in need of our prayers. We pray for you. Please join your voices to ours as we pray the Prologue of St. John.
The light shineth in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it…