A SERVICE OF LIGHT
(for church and home use at appropriate times of the year   e.g. Advent, St. Lucy's Day, Candlemass).

Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead and Christ will give you light.
Let us pray that the light of Christ will be our continual Judge in all our daily actions. R. Lord, hear our prayer
Cast away the works of darkness and put upon us the armour of light.
Let us pray that the light of Christ will illuminate us from our foolish and sinful ways, and give us true repentance for our sins. R.
Your word, O God, is a lantern to our feet, and a light upon our path.
Let us pray that the light of Christ will reveal to us a deeper love and understanding for His holy Word. R.
The light of the world, in grace and beauty, mirrors God's eternal loveliness.
Let us pray that the light of Christ will always direct us to His banquet Table to receive His life in the Blessed Sacrament. R.
The commandment of the Lord shines clearly, giving light to the eyes.
Let us pray that the light of Christ will open our eyes to the needs of our fellow man in our communities and throughout the world. R.
You are the light of the world, and so let your light shine before men.
Let us pray that the light of Christ will give us a greater vision of being Christian communities and our responsibilities as Christians. R.
The dayspring from on high has visited us, to give light to them who sit in darkness.
Let us pray that the Light of Christ will enter the hearts of all who live in despair, deprivation and depression. R.
Light has come into the world, but those who do evil hate the light.
Let us pray that the light of Christ will inflame the hearts of all those who prefer to live in darkness and ignore the truth as revealed in the Babe of Bethlehem, and the Christ at Calvary in His loving and sacrificial death for all.  R.
The Lord will be our everlasting light, and our God will be our glory.
Let us pray for all those who strive to bring the Light of Christ into the lives of others. R.
The Lord will be our everlasting light, and our days of mourning shall be ended.
Let us pray that the life of Christ will brighten our paths when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, and in our last moments on earth. R.


It is in St. John's Gospel that we have recorded a mini-Gospel, the healing of the blind man from birth, ch.9. Jesus sees a man who had been blind from birth and has never known light, only a world of darkness. By making clay as a creative act to give light from darkness, Christ is re-enacting His Father's act of creating light out of darkness. Christ anoints his eyes with this clay and sends him to wash in a pool whose name means "Sent". The man goes without hesitation, the same as Christ did when He came to earth when sent by the Father. After washing as commanded he found he could see. Jesus had dispersed his darkness. When questioned by the Jewish authority how one who had been blind could suddenly see, the healed man, in his reply cuts deeply into the reason for Christ being in the world, "All I know is this: I was blind and now I can see." Understanding that such a healing could only come from God, he wants to believe in the Son of Man, and being confronted with Jesus as such, he falls before Him as His Lord and Saviour. His response to the Light in seeking truth contrasts to the spiritual blindness of the Jewish authority as they reject Jesus. No wonder Christ declares after this whole episode, "It is for judgment that I come into this world - to give sight to the sightless and to make blind those who see." (Jn.9:39)

R. The Lord is my light and my salvation,
The Lord delivers us from darkness, R.
The Lord is the strength of my life. R.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. R.

In the act of creation in Genesis darkness means being devoid of light. This concept continued in Exodus when "the Lord went before [the Israelities] by day in a pillar of a cloud to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light; to go by day and night." Ex. 13.21. This "pillar of cloud" by day and "pillar of fire by night" continued to show the Hebrew children their way by light even through the wilderness. Neh.9.19
 "Why is light given to one in misery?  Why is light given to one who cannot see the way?" enquires Job in the misery and darkness of his soul through all his sufferings, Job 3.20,23. The Psalmist is clear that it is the Lord who "lights my lamp" and "lifts up my darkness". It is only "in your light that we see light." So the Psalmist prays, "O send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling." Surely then, "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path", "whom then shall I fear?" [Ps.18.28, 36.9, 43.3, 119. 105, Ps.27.1]. Proverbs too enhances the Psalmist's teaching when he echoes " For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light" [6.23].

Response. In your light we shall see light.
L. Your word is a lantern to my feet. R.
L. Your word is a light upon our path. R.
L. Your commandment is a lamp. R.

Biblically darkness, as we have seen in the New Testament, become symbolic with evil deeds by those who rebelled against the light. "People loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed." But  "light has come into the world" to judge! [John 3.19-21]. Long before Isaiah was denouncing those who "call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness." [Is.5.20]  This same theme appears in Job, and especially by those who wait until the darkness of the day to commit such sins as theft and adultery. "There are those who rebel against the light, who are not acquainted with its ways, and do not stay in it paths. The murderer rises at dusk to kill the poor and needy, and in the night is like a thief. The eye of the adulterer also waits for the twilight, saying 'No eye will see me';  they do not know the light. For deep darkness is morning to all of them; for they are friends with the terrors of deep darkness" [Job. 24.13 -17]. 

Response: Help us dear Lord to walk in Your light. 
L. In the darkness of our hearts. R.
 L. In the darkness of our world. R.
L. In the darkness of selfishness. R.


Deutero- Isaiah urges us to "bestow your bread on the hungry and satisfy the afflicted; Then light shall rise for you in the darkness, and the gloom shall become for you like midday" (Isaiah 58:10). So Come, Sun of Justice!  

We pray dear lord that we have our lanterns always burning to illuminate Your love within us so that we may give Your light to others. R. Lord hear our prayer. 
We pray O most loving Saviour that as our lanterns burn for ever in your temple, that they may receive eternal light, to lighten our darkness and to protect us from the darknesses of the world. R.
We pray O blessed Jesu that you will so light our lanterns that we may ever see you, look on you, long for you; may we gaze with love on you alone, and have our lanterns shining and burning when You come on that Day of Judgment. R. 
Grant us to walk always in Your light that we may be found waiting and watching when you come dear Lord to us as the Babe in a manger, and in glory and judgment for you are our light, the sun, the stars and the moon. May the Light of Christ go before each one of us; and may the God of infinite goodness scatter the darkness of sin and brighten our hearts with holiness. Amen. 

You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father. (Matthew 5:14-16)

 
Reading - Prepare to meet your God, O Israel:
Him who formed the mountains, and created the wind, and declares to man his thoughts;
Who made the dawn and the darkness,
and strides upon the heights of the earth:
The LORD, the God of hosts by name. (Amos 4:12-13)

  In the darkness of our hearts and of our world, We cry out until the dawn.
R. Come, Sun of Justice! (cf. Isaiah 38:13).
O house of Jacob, come, 
R. Let us walk in the light of the Lord!
 
Reading  Let us know, let us strive to know the LORD; as certain as the dawn is his coming: and his judgment shines forth like the light of day! He will come to us like the rain, like spring rain that waters the earth. (Hosea 6:3).

Depending whether this is used- either the Benedictus or Magnificat is said or sung.
The antiphon before or after:
Drive away all darkness so that we may see that we need that Light of Christ by which to live.

Grant us to walk always in that light that we may be found waiting and watching when you come dear Lord to us as the Babe in a manger, and in glory and judgment for you are our light, the sun, the stars and the moon. May the Light of Christ go before each one of us; and may the God of infinite goodness scatter the darkness of sin and brighten our hearts with holiness. Amen. 

+ In the name of the Father and of the  Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. 
In the Julian calendar the shortest day was December, 13th  the day the Church commemorated the martyrdom of St. Lucy during the Diocletian persecution at the beginning of the 4thC. How appropriate as "Lucy", means "light", and the fact that she was blinded by her persecutors has made her as forerunner for the coming of the true Light into the world to cast away the works of darkness, celebrated twelve days later. So as we celebrate the Light we also give thanks for the life of St. Lucy, faithful unto death for her beloved Lord. 
We who live in the northern hemisphere should be more conscious that Christ's coming at Christmass lightens up the world with its dark, dreary days of winter as we welcome His beam of salvation.
One of the important themes in St. John's Gospel is that Light overcomes Darkness. This Gospel makes clear that Christ is the Light of this world, and all who seek the Light will be delivered from the powers of Darkness. Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8:12)

As a main candle is lit the response is "'Hail, O Light!' Let us raise our hearts in praise singing, 'Hail, O Light!' 
As other candles are lit- the ancient hymn "O Gladsome light" or some other appropriate hymn is sung.
O Gladsome light, O grace              
               Of God the Father's face,               
The eternal splendour wearing;       
Celestial, holy, blest,                        
Our Saviour Jesus Christ,                
Joyful in thine appearing.                  

To thee of right belongs
All praise of holy songs,
               O Son of God, Lifegiver
               Thee, therefore O Most High,
               The world doth glorify,
               And shall exalt for ever.

A READING from the Prologue of St. John's  Gospel
In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God; all things were made by him,
and without Him was not anything made that was made .
in Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
The light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not.

The response  Give thanks to the Father, who has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and made us partakers in the inheritance of the saints of light (Col. 1.12-3).

Marianne Dorman
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