As the days get shorter, our yearning for light can grow. Yet at this time of lengthening nights, it is good to remember that God may also be found in darkness and shadow. I want to turn from contemplating divine light to divine darkness. Divine mystery. All that we cannot know.

What might it mean for us to see God in shadow? What are our images of God as darkness?

As Mary was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, so at the Eucharist we pray that the bread, the wine and we ourselves be so overshadowed – and so renewed.

The psalmist sings, ‘hide me under the shadow of your wings’. Well might we seek this shadow – and find it more dense, more deep, more challenging, more consoling, more revealing, more baffling, more stark, more gentle, than we can possibly imagine. We may find this shadow the place of divine mystery in which we are undone and made new. The place of mystery where our exile meets our belonging. A place where we can learn to dwell.

5 thoughts on “Overshadowed

  1. Thank you for this beautiful parallel of the overshadowing of Mary and our own overshadowing at the Eucharist. It has offered me much to reflect and meditate on today. Thank you for that gift!

  2. I love this image.

    May I share another which seems to be related? It’s on the mystery of life growing within us like a seed:

    “It is only necessary to give ourselves to that life, all that we are, to pray without ceasing, not by a continual effort to concentrate our minds but by a growing awareness that Christ is being formed in our lives from what we are. We must trust Him for this, because it is not a time to see His face, we must possess Him secretly and in darkness, as the earth possesses the seed. We must not try to force Christ’s growth in us, but with a deep gratitude for the light burning secretly in our darkness, we must fold our concentrated love upon Him like earth, surrounding, holding, and nourishing the seed.”

    – Caryll Houselander, The Reed of God, 45-46.

  3. Thanks, Sarah. I don’t know the author or the book, but it looks worth investigating.

    This thread has a lot of life left in it — and will be taken up in the next edition of Inspires. (Hurrah, Elizabeth. Thanks for the offer.)

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