In these last months it seems like we are witnessing an unending stream of acts of violence. Istanbul, Dhaka, Baghdad, Lahore, Medina, Nice, Paris, Brussels, Munich, Reutlingen, Rouen … We can feel overwhelmed, helpless, numb, unable even to take in the latest tragedy. In the face of all of this, can we say fiat lux – let there be light? Can we find ways to be bearers of light?
A Physical Response
It is heartening to see so many prayer memes of solidarity flooding social media. In a reflection following the murder of Fr Hamel in Rouen, Benedictine Fr Hugh Somerville-Knapman suggests a more embodied approach saying “Prayer is seen as soul’s work. But we have bodies, and bodies can pray too.” Physical prayer gestures of fasting, kneeling, looking to the East, using rosary beads, may not appeal to everyone, but Fr Hugh suggests one thing that we can all do regardless of our religious beliefs:
“Light a candle or three, hallowing each one with a brief prayer… that the world might know that the darkness might win a battle but it cannot win the war. Let there be light: fiat lux — lumen Christi, lumen fidei, lumen veritatis, lumen caritatis, lumen spei.”
#fiatlux let there be light! The light of Christ, the light of faith, the light of truth, the light of love, the light of hope.
Songs of Light & Hope
Two songs have been a comfort to me in these months. Both speak of bringing light to darkness. The Peace Prayer of St Francis is sung in his home town of Assisi in this video:
Chris Rice’s song Go Light the World also encourages us not to turn away, but rather to run to the darkness with our candles bearing light to the world.
In a physical gesture of solidarity and spiritual closeness, many Muslims in France attended Mass to commemorate the life of Fr Hamel. How might Christians make physical gestures of solidarity with the Muslim communities around the world who are suffering violence?