Thought for the Day – 19 February – Tuesday of the Sixth week in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Mark 8:14–21 and the memorial of Bl John Sullivan SJ (1861-1933)
And He said to them “Do you not yet understand or comprehend?”...Mark 8:21
Faith, the theologians say, is a certain and obscure habit of soul. It is an obscure habit because it brings us to believe divinely revealed truths, that transcend every natural light and infinitely exceed, all human understanding. As a result, the excessive light of faith bestowed on a soul, is darkness for it – a brighter light will eclipse and suppress a dimmer one. The sun so obscures all other lights, that they do not seem to be lights at all when it is shining and instead of affording vision to the eyes, it overwhelms, blinds and deprives them of vision since its light is excessive and disproportioned to the visual faculty. Similarly, the light of faith in its abundance, suppresses and overwhelms that of the intellect…
Another clearer example… If those born blind were told about the nature of the colours white or yellow, they would understand absolutely nothing, no matter how much instruction they received, since they never saw these colours… Only the names of these colours would be grasped, since the names are perceptible through hearing… Such is faith to the soul – it informs us of matters we have never seen or known… The light of natural knowledge does not show them to us… Yet we come to know it through hearing, by believing, what faith teaches, in blinding our natural light and bringing it in to submission. St Paul states: “Faith comes through hearing” (Rm 10:17). This amounts, to saying, that faith is not a knowledge, derived from the senses but an assent of the soul, to what enters through hearing… Faith, manifestly, is a dark night for souls but in this way, it gives them light. The more darkness it brings on them, the more light it sheds. For by blinding, it illumines them, according to those words of Isaiah: “If you do not believe, you will not understand” (cf. Is 7:9).
Blessed John Sullivan was illuminated by the Light of faith, in his many hours of silent prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, the place where our light is found.
God and Father,
You honour those who honour You.
Make sacred the memory
of Your servant John Sullivan,
by granting through his intercession,
the petition we now make
……………….(name the petition)
and hastening the day,
when his name will be venerated
by the title of Saint.
We make our prayer
through Christ our Lord,
in the Holy Spirit,