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Seeing the light of the world

From the lighthouse

Gavin Thomas Murphy runs a website called GratitudeInAllThings.com where he looks to Ignatian Spirituality for strength and inspiration.

Part of my staycation was to visit Hook Lighthouse in County Wexford, reportedly the oldest operational lighthouse in the world. Monks from Wales originally built a solid structure followed by Normans who greatly added to it. Modernizers maintained its sturdiness and now its electric lamp is operated from Dún Laoghaire in Dublin. Without stone upon stone, the light would not be seen.

I think of a bride from the recent explosion in Beirut. The chemicals blasted through the city and around Israa Seblani as she was being videoed on her special day. Before the explosion, she wondered if her parents were going to be happy seeing her in a white dress. Beauty was like a lamp that she could see in herself. After the explosion, she saw the damage that happened to Beirut – her lamp was still shining in the face of evil.

Scripture says, “Your eye is the lamp of your body. If your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light”. It strikes me that Israa had healthy sight and that her whole body – in dazzling white – was full of light, even when she watched her suffering people.

If she had unhealthy sight, she would dwell in despair: “If your eye is not healthy, your body is full of darkness”. She turned to her faith saying: “Thank God, we’re still alive.” She is a lamp giving light with her rays (Luke 11:33-36).

But there is more to the lighthouse. It speaks of our inner strength or backbone of steel. Perhaps I didn’t recognise it as I first looked out the window. Perhaps Israa did’t know it as she asked herself, “Am I going to die?” Perhaps the lamplighter didn’t understand it as the flame diminished. Without a backbone of steel, our warm hearts would not be seen.