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Alba Iulia
Saturday, February 22, 2020

Step into the light

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Dina Mananquil-Delfino
Dina Mananquil-Delfino
Dina was a former editor-in-chief of The Philippine Times and has been its columnist for over 20 years. She has written two books, "Colours of Life" and "Under His Wings". Dina has been in the helping field for 40 years in the various roles she had fulfilled- teacher, employee in different organisations, volunteer, pastoral care worker. She is a member of Australian Counsellors of Australia (ACA) and Counsellors Victoria (CV). She brings into her practice her unique style of helping and understanding, having been exposed to various roles involving different cultures. She can relate to the challenges change brings. In her published book Colours of Life, she shares the angst and joy of being a migrant. As a Pastoral Care worker, she has helped many individuals and families empower themselves and encourage them to achieve order in their otherwise chaotic life. She also facilitates/conducts regular workshops/teachings in personal development. Dina’s strength is in pastoral care, assisting people journey through the difficult moments of serious illness, loss and bereavement, helping newly-arrived migrants, and emotionally embracing the elderly and senior members of the community, moving them to work towards a new vision of settlement, hope and comfort. DINA IS A QUALIFIED COUNSELOR AND PASTORAL CARE WORKER. She can be contacted on 0430 214 917. Email evamarie09@bigpond.com for comments or feedback on this story).

“Your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday.” Isaiah 58:10

A friend once called me, distressed that she is in a horrible place – she seems to be losing everything due to her alcohol addiction- home, family, friends, work and health. She is in deep mess.

I prayed for her and without sounding unkind, I shared that sometimes being in a horrible place is the best place for us to be, for there, once we admit to our errors, and in humility, the good Lord can start working on us.

It reminded me of the many “horrible, dark” places I had been in – and in hindsight, I can only thank God for not giving up on me and helping me learn important lessons as I crawled my way through every one of these shady periods of my life. They were painful moments but at the end of each of them, the liberating feeling of being healed.

I loved watching TFC Healing Eucharist. In one of the homilies of Father Gomez, he taught about being salt and light to the earth. He explained that in our “multiverse” (no longer universe, as more new galaxies are discovered), 95% of what surrounds us is darkness (dark matter and dark energy); only 5% is light.

I started to wander about the significance of this in our personal lives. Is it the reason why Jesus preached on the theme of light and darkness all the time? Fr Gomez illustrated how we can exacerbate darkness around us – when we become negative, critical, evil, carnal – these seem to be manifestations of the dark energy that surrounds us; when we become peacemakers and apply the character that Jesus advocates, we are dispelling this darkness.

Is this also the premise that Heaven is described as a place of eternal light, compared to earth where frightening shadows follow us most of the time?

My granddaughter Eva, aged 7 has always expressed fear of the dark. Often I counsel her about it – prayers will dispel these fears. And so we pray together before she sleeps – and indeed she sleeps quite well through the night. Prayers chase away darkness too.

An incident involved my hubby recently. He got up to go to the bathroom but did not bother to turn on the light as the sudden glare would blind him. However, once he walked to the bathroom in the dark, he bumped his head against a post and cut his forehead. I warned him that darkness can be dangerous – we need the light to guide us. At least now he uses a flashlight. In whatever form the light comes – candle, flashlight, bulb, we need the light to see. Darkness cannot conquer light unless the light is diminished or departs.

In our spiritual life, Jesus calls us to be light and salt of the earth. He knows there is a lot of darkness around. When we discern that darkness is about to descend on us, on our loved ones, family members or community, through disunity, disharmony, intrigue, quarrels, rage, revenge, negativity, evil, bigotry, let us step up and dispel the gloom and doom through our loving prayers and encouragement of one another, asking the Holy Spirit to vanquish the spell of evil.

Andy Otto in his “Ignatian Spirituality” shares: “God is always calling us to the light, transforming what feels like bleak emptiness into a joy-filled abiding with God, a divine light that the darkness cannot overcome.”

Darkness and light cannot occupy the same space. We can choose which one will inhabit us.

(For comments or feedback, email evamarie09@bigpond.com)

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