Lux in tenebris. Latin for “light in the darkness.”
My second weekend as a college student brought me to a welcome event at St. Isidore’s. I was providing some live music, and decided to take a quick break. An upperclassman girl came and sat with me and talked to me about my music and asked about my aspirations. While talking, I couldn’t help but notice the scripted tattoo she had on her forearm. As someone who has tattoos, I love asking others the story behind theirs. So I asked her what brought her to ink her arm with the phrase “lux in tenebris.” Her story drew me in, and it exemplified God’s beauty. As our conversation went on, we discussed cool ideas we’ve had for future tattoos, and where we see God in the world. In a new place where it was so easy for me to feel unknown and unseen, she became a glimpse of light in the darkness I would feel in my first few weeks adjusting to college while trying to make friends.
It is not hard to see that there is darkness present in the lives of college students today. Social media, the party scene, and hookup culture shows me so many people searching for something. Something more, something truly authentic. In one of my favorite Bible studies, we dove into Corinthians and saw the way Paul called the people of Corinth out of their sin, and into something more. He calls them to the idea of living in the world, but not of it.
The phrase “Lux in tenebris” that I encountered through my friend at St. Isidore’s rang even truer as the Bible study continued. The call is there to be a light in the darkness for others, and to be a Christ-light shining throughout the world, drawing people to something more. As an impressionable freshman in college, my FOCUS Bible study shaped the rest of my time at college. It gave me a place to be motivated to keep living as a light in the darkness, and find others who were brave and willing to do the same.
As Catholic college students, we are called to and are presented with this opportunity on a daily basis. Many of us desire to live differently than the masses, especially in our formative college years. I think that living in the world, but not of it, and the idea of being a light in the darkness, go hand in hand. These ideas helped shape my life as a brand new college student, and serve as a good reminder of how we are supposed to live throughout college and into our adult lives.
To wrap everything up and place a nice little bow on it, the Sunday homily I heard one of my first weekends at K-State was titled “Light in the Darkness,” where Father Gale said, “If a flame should say unto itself, I will not enter the darkness, for the darkness is simply far too dark. If the light was afraid of the dark, then darkness would forever remain.”
Our world today is plagued with darkness. The pandemic, political division, and social unrest we are experiencing currently is a clear example of that. Many of us are searching for ways to remedy the hurt in our world, and it can be overwhelming to think of all that needs to change. While this heaviness can call us to action and bring us motivation, we cannot get bogged down by overthinking if our methods of spreading awareness or keeping others safe are good enough. When we unite our intentions to the Lord’s, we are always good enough. As long as we are bringing light, especially straight into the darkness, we are doing the Lord’s will.
If God was to send a flood today, like the one sent in the Old Testament to restore goodness and sanctity, everyone is called to be a chosen one on the ark to carry the world into a new time of light and renewed hope and truth. We cannot be afraid to enter the darkness, as we are beacons of light!
I encourage you this week to find one way that you can bring light into an area of darkness in the world.
Grace Leonard is a junior studying Secondary Education and Social Studies. She feels deeply, is passionate about music, and is inspired by the irreplaceable-ness of every human person. Click here to find her blog & musical outlets.