Personal story and reflection
When we read the Scriptures systematically, when we listen carefully and faithfully – as we emphasized recently – to the word of God, God begins to appear in our heart, in our mind as light. The Holy Spirit is light. He enlightens our life, our personal history, so that we begin to see in it what was previously unknown, unclear, incomprehensible, what was hidden in the darkness. The symbolism of light and darkness is well known throughout the Scriptures – in the Old Testament, the New Testament, and especially in St. John. We remember well how the prologue of the Gospel of St. John, the beginning of the gospel that we read on Christmas Day: “In him was life. And life was the light of people. And the light shines in the dark, and the darkness has not overwhelmed it. ” There is a mysterious confrontation between Christ’s light and Satan’s darkness, and the light always triumphs. What does it mean? This means: first, it allows us to know God, shows the way to Him, and secondly, it reveals the truth about human actions. This is why the perpetrators of evil avoid light. They do their evil deeds in the dark. Thus, the biblical image of light inextricably combines the cognitive dimension – we know God – and the moral dimension: light enables us to know human deeds. We want God to make Himself known to us, so we must read His word with faith. He then sheds light on the darkness of our incomprehension, the lack of knowing God, he gives us a chance to get closer to God. But what do we see when the Light, which is the Holy Spirit, comes from the Bible, from reading God’s word with faith, what do we begin to see in our lives? The light of God illuminates and from the darkness emerges evil, which, it turns out, is abundant in our lives. Our sin comes to light, that is, the lack of love for God and for man – and we will tell about it in the next meeting. However, the most important thing is that in our lives we also begin to see good – it is real good that we have not noticed before. Sometimes people complain that they don’t see any good in their lives, that their lives have become mean. This is because they don’t have light, and they don’t have light because they don’t read the word of God. However, the most important thing is that we see good through God’s word. And where there is good, there is God. St. Mark, for example, describes in the Gospel that when to Jesus came the rich young man, as he is sometimes called in another gospel, when “a one man came and fell on his knees and asked him: Good Teacher, what must I do to gain eternal life?” And what does Jesus answer him? Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God Himself.” This is the case in chapter 10 of the Gospel of St. Mark. So, if no one is good but God Himself, then every manifestation of true good comes from God. Only God is good. And if I or someone did something really good, apparently God himself must have touched his heart – because only God is the source of good. So when we begin to see the good in our lives, that is: we begin to see the traces of God’s presence. It is such little evidence of the existence and operation of God in our lives. After all, we all sing this song, traditional, Christian, very beautiful: “Where mutual love and goodness, there you will find the living God”; therefore, He should be sought where there is goodness, where there is love, in all manifestations of good. Apparently, when Gagarin flew into space for the first time and returned from there, he was supposed to say: “I saw. There is no God”. Indeed, sisters and brothers, God allows himself to be seen only by those who see good through reading the word of God. Without God’s word, our lives often plunge into darkness – even when the good is there, we don’t see it. When the light of the Holy Spirit illuminates our lives, we begin to see that God is present in our lives, that whatever good we do or experience from others is a sign of His presence and action in our lives. Sometimes, when a person becomes converted and begins to read a word, he begins to notice with amazement that God has long knocked on his heart. He had long been giving him signs on the crooked lines of his life, signs of his presence. He begins to see that God has often saved his life from a great evil – from evil that he could have done or from evil that could have happened to him. Often then, a person is amazed at his own blindness, his own stubbornness. But he is even more amazed at God’s mercy, God’s love, which has not been discouraged by his meanness, but has always given him a chance. And when a person decides to read faithfully and systematically the Scriptures and reflect on his own life, thanks to the light of God’s word, he sees that, in fact, throughout his life God guided and looked after him, although he did not notice it at all. Such amazement is a great grace and it is sometimes worth telling others about it, whom we want to strengthen on the path of faith. And maybe even God will make someone wake up to real life thanks to our words, someone will break out of the darkness, which is the lack of knowing God … That is why you need to constantly read the Bible with faith and look at your own life in its light. We will slowly begin to see the great works of God that He has already accomplished and is constantly doing in our humble and sin-stricken life. This is what all the saints did: they looked at the world, at life with faith. It is an amazing light. It is not simply the light of human reason. This is the light that comes from God. I don’t know if everyone knows, but when St. Theresa from the baby Jesus was dying, in great pains, moreover, and she was still experiencing a kind of “dark night”, when she did not feel God, she still had this strange supernatural light and looking at this reality, which was not beautiful or joyful at all, but she saw so much goodness in it and so many traces of God that she said, “Everything is grace.” To say that, it really must be a grace from God Himself. That is why Christians constantly try to look at their life and life in general precisely in the light of the word of God, in the light of faith that the word of God awakens in them. How to do it? How can we make our lives look at the Word of God? Christians worked out this way. It is called a daily examination of conscience throughout the day. What does this “examination” mean? Everyone knows that an account always has incomes and expenses – at least these two lines in accounting always have to be ticked. Income – these are good things. Expenses – these are the bad ones. Therefore, let us first focus on what is good in this examination of conscience. When we finish the day, in the shorter or longer, as long as we can do at the moment, let’s try to run our day, but specifically. What good happened on that day? How much good have we done there? We will be thinking about evil in the second part. First, you have to consider whether someone has done something good to me by accident or experienced something good. Or maybe I did something good? A resolution that I have fulfilled or done something good to someone close to me, or I have fulfilled my day well, I have worked it well, studying or working … When you think about it, all these facts, not opinions or hypotheses, but facts – you have to choose them. And what to do? You have to be happy about it. Because these are little evidence of the existence of God in my life. All good comes, in fact, from God Himself. And that is why the examination of conscience in the first part, which we often forget, because the examination of conscience is associated first of all with remembering what I did wrong, especially before confession, when we do it; but the bill always has two parts: the positive part first, the income first – what good we have experienced. And when a person realizes, and precisely chooses, the little bit of good, greater or less, that happened to me today or I did it myself, or I discovered something good in my life – some gift of God, some gift of another human being, reflect on it and be happy of it, giving glory to God. What does it mean? We are often not happy about the good. And yet this is proof that God is working in our lives. This is proof that He is, cares for us. And that is why, when we rejoice before God, it is worth thanking him at least one sentence, even with a reflex of the heart, even with a sigh. And when a person does it every day, such an examination of conscience, he begins to notice in his life many good, many reasons to notice that God is constantly in our lives, that He guides us, that He is in fact with us all the time and He never left us. And that is why giving thanks or giving glory to God, who is such love, is a great joy for us. By the way, when we cultivate such an examination of conscience longer, if not even every day, then at least several times a week, then we realize that God accompanies us constantly. It is worth doing this every day, every week, not only before confession.