“Lord, now let your servant go in peace; your word has been fulfilled: my own eyes have seen the salvation which you prepared in the sight of every people, a light to reveal you to the nations and the glory of your people Israel.” // Luke 2:29-32
Almost everything was a soft white, back-lit by a distant bank of lights and the small lamps on our bedside tables. The tables were a miscellany of wood stains, but they held white lamps and white notepads, and stood next to the white linens and blanket-covered beds. The tall, white posts of the old beds were slightly chipped in places, but still stood elegantly and proudly, each supporting white sheets, which acted as curtains, giving each of us our own little monastic cell.
The motherhouse was observing profound silence, but we whispered to one another through the sheets as we readied for bed. Just a few minutes earlier we had prayed Night Prayer with the sisters, crossing ourselves as we stood and chanted Simeon’s words, “Lord, now let your servant go in peace . . .” (Luke 2:29). Everything was so unlike the dorms we had left for the weekend, and our hearts and minds were dizzy.
We were steadied by a sister who came to every bed, marked a small cross with holy water on each curtain, and prayed, “Hail Mary.” As instructed, each of us responded, “Full of grace,” and slowly the large dormitory fell silent. There was the click of lamps turning off, the soft rustle of women tucking themselves into bed, and low, sweet, murmured prayer.
The bank of lights were turned off, and we laid in the darkness and closed our eyes to ponder the “true light” (1 John 2:8) Whom God had “revealed to the nations” (Luke 2:32) and to consider whether we were ready to “go in peace” to wherever Jesus was calling us.
For some of us, it’s nearly impossible to find profound silence and peace in our busy lives, and for some of us, the silence and stillness is intimidating, or even terrifying. Wherever you are on that spectrum, I invite you to find a way to draw close to the Light. He is shining brightly for you.He is shining brightly for you. // Bonnie Engstrom Click To Tweet