Wednesday, July 23

Translucent Darkness

"...the translucent darkness of that silence which revealeth in secret..."

--St. Dionysius the Araeopagite (attr.)

I promise this is the last time I'll link to the Old Oligarch today rather than write something constructive, but the old feller has written a weird, fascinating and thought-provoking post on the glories of nocturnal life. While I tend to be religious about my sleep and don't stay up too late compared to my fellow college-students--I have never pulled an all nighter--I do have to admit there is something somewhat aesthetically striking about nighttime and darkness, not as a symbol of evil but as a veil to the Divine Light, which is "unapproachable" according to one of the Eucharistic prayers. God made the night, after all, just as He made the day. The tiny flame of the Easter Candle is far more beautiful in a darkened church than in a floodlit ultra-modern sanctuary. The mystical theology attributed to St. Dionysius even spoke, perhaps audaciously, of a "Divine Darkness" which was a Light that transcended even light. During the Mediaeval period, veils were drawn over the sanctuary during the Consecration, and today the Eastern Churches still use the iconostasis. Christ is the Sun of Justice, and you can't look directly at the Sun, lest we forget our humility. Let us not forget that sometimes we can find Him too in the dark night, whether the night of Bethlehem or the pre-dawn morning of the Resurrection.

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