Monday, December 2, 2013

Advent: Can Light Conquer the Darkness?

Dante shows the artist in the unusual clouds (1883)
by Ivan Aivazovsky
The upcoming month of December is a month in the Catholic Church where the liturgical year ends and is renewed by the season of Advent. It is a month where again we see the general theme of the liturgical season being echoed in nature. Darkness has crept over the world, and is increasing each day. Yet, there is hope for soon the days will begin to lengthen and the sun will conquer the night. The earth reveals that there is a light in this dark place and that Light reigns victorious.

A Passing Shadow

The great Catholic author J.R.R. Tolkien knew this reality very well. Throughout his works there is an ongoing contrast between the dark world and the light that illumines it. In particular, Tolkien stressed that even though there is great evil in the world, goodness always triumphs in the end.

This theme of good surpassing evil is shown perfectly in the following passage from the third chapter of his Lord of the Rings saga, The Return of the King,

There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tower high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.
(The Lord of the Rings, pg. 901) [emphasis added]

Even in the dreary, hopeless, shadow land of Mordor the darkness will not last forever. It is only a passing shadow. The light of the sun is there and will return evermore glorious. 
continue at Philip Kosloski

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