Adapted by Amanda Hinson from the EDGE Into the Dark Retreat
Darkness is the total or partial absence of light. Darkness in the spiritual world is associated with many things, including sin and fear. Light, on the other hand, makes things visible; it allows us to see. In the spiritual world, light is associated with truth, goodness, right decision, joy, and Jesus, the light of the world. Throughout these online lessons, we will learn that we are called out of the dark to live in the light of Christ, which is more powerful than any darkness.
Please give us your light. Give us open hearts to see what you're trying to teach us today.
EDGE CHALLENGE: Try to put together a puzzle with 20 pieces or less in the dark or while being blindfolded. :)
It is harder to do just about anything in the dark. In our spiritual lives, we encounter different types of darkness that make it much harder to do a lot of things.
One type of spiritual darkness is sin. Sin makes it difficult for us to love God and those around us. It wounds us spiritually and can cause us to become slaves to our sins. Ultimately, our unrepented sins lead to spiritual death.
Another type of darkness is fear. Fear can keep us from acting and steal our joy. It oftentimes is harder to do things — even good things — when we are afraid.
Both of these types of darkness cause us to lead unhappy lives because we were not created to live in sin or fear — we were created for the light, not for the darkness.
That does not mean, however, that we will never struggle with sin or fear. We are not perfect, so we need to continually work to overcome our sin, trust in God, and not be afraid.
When Adam and Eve committed the first sin, all of humanity was affected. When they failed to trust God and did what He asked them not to do, sin, sickness, suffering, and death entered into the world. (CCC 397400) Our actions not only hurt those around us, but they also wound our relationship with God. Ultimately, the consequence of sin is death. We sin when we do, say, or desire something that goes against what we know to be right; sin is an offense against God. (CCC 1849) When we sin, we fail to love God and our neighbor; it wounds our relationship with God and with others. Our sins hurt not only us, but also the people around us. (CCC 1849)
Maybe you are aware of the sins in your life and have had a lot of help in forming a good conscience, or maybe this is the first time you have heard about sin. Either way, you must always work to be aware of the sins in your life and form your conscience if you want to come out of the darkness they create. There are many tools that can help us form our conscience — the Ten Commandments, what is revealed in Scripture and through the Church, and the right guidance of others.
God calls us out of the darkness of sin and will forgive our sins, but we have to first be aware of the sin in our lives so we can ask for forgiveness. When we turn away from our sin and toward God, we begin to experience a change in our hearts that will lead us to true joy.
DARKNESS OF FEAR
Obviously, in our world today there is a lot of fear surrounding the coronavirus. We can experience fear when things are dark because we cannot see what is around us. We are afraid of the disease that we haven't seen before and have no idea how it will impact people.
Darkness can cause fear, and fear is much like darkness. Fear is an emotion that is caused by the belief or knowledge of coming danger, or that something or someone will cause us pain or is a threat. Fear is morally neutral — it is neither good or bad — but it can cause a great deal of hardship in our lives if we are ruled by it. If fear leads us to wrongful action, it can also lead us into sin.
Fear is oftentimes rooted in a lack of trust in the goodness of God, or a fear of death. We are afraid in both cases because we do not have control over different situations in our lives. Fear is not an easy emotion to deal with. When we are filled with fear, we can feel like we are stuck in a cloud of darkness. In some cases, fear can even lead to anxiety or depression. If that's something you're struggling with, let me remind you that there are loving adults who want to help you and walk with you in the valley that you are in-- so please contact one of us at the EDGE or talk to your parents or an adult you trust if you are struggling with fear, anxiety, or depression.
"You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." 1 Peter 2:9
While there are a lot of things we may be afraid of, we do not have to live in fear. The truth that we have a loving God, who we can trust and who wants the best for us, can cast out all fear. While we will sin and experience fear, we were not created to live lives of sin or fear. God desires so much more for us, which is why He came to call us out of darkness and into His light.
Sing with Josh Blakesley, You are the Light: