give your light to my lantern

see Advent 3 (year B) “testify to the light”

Brother James Dowd and I led an Advent Retreat at Holy Cross Monastery this last weekend. The following was the reading given during dinner in the refectory on Saturday.  I think Columbanus’ prayer compliments the text for this coming Sunday, (John’s testifying to the light) by asking for that very light to illumine our souls, so that we might be a lantern for others. [Columbanus (540-615) was an Irish missionary.]


Detail, Magdalene with a Smoking Flame, Georges de la Tour, c.1640

A Reading from the Instructions of Columbanus

How blessed, how fortunate, are ‘those servants whom the Lord will find watchful when he comes’. Blessed is the time of waiting when we stay awake for the Lord, the Creator of the universe, who fills all things and transcends all things.

How I wish he would awaken me, his humble servant, from the sleep of slothfulness, even though I am of little worth.  How I wish he would enkindle me with that fire of divine love.  The flames of his love burn beyond the stars; the longing for his overwhelming delights and the divine fire ever burn within me!

How I wish I might deserve to have my lantern always burning at night in the temple of my Lord, to give light to all who enter the house of my God.  Give me, I pray you, Lord, in the name of Jesus Christ, your Son and my God, that love that does not fail so that my lantern, burning within me and giving light to others, may be always lighted and never extinguished.

Jesus, our most loving Savior, be pleased to light our lanterns, that they may burn for ever in your temple, receiving eternal light from you, the eternal light, to lighten our darkness and to ward off from us the darkness of the world.

Give your light to my lantern, I beg you, my Jesus, so that by its light I may see that holy of holies which receives you as the eternal priest entering among the columns of your great temple.  May I ever see you only, look on you, long for you; may I gaze with love on you alone, and have my lantern shining and burning always in your presence.

Loving Savior, be pleased to show yourself to us who knock, so that in knowing you we may love only you, love you alone, desire you alone, contemplate only you day and night, and always think of you.  Inspire in us the depth of love that is fitting for you to receive as God.  So may your love pervade out whole being, possess us completely, and fill all our senses, that we may know no other love but love for you who are everlasting.  May our love be so great that the many waters of sky, land and sea cannot extinguish it is us: for ‘many waters cannot quench love.’

May this saying be fulfilled in us also, at least in part, by your gift, Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom be glory for ever and ever.

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