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Jesus, the Light in Our Darkness

A Shroud of Turin expert and Catholic theologian believes the mysterious image of the scourged and crucified man appears on the ancient linen burial cloth as a natural consequence of a supernatural event, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

If true, this means the image depicts Jesus, dead and entombed, at the exact moment of his Resurrection. Perhaps, like the capturing of an image in photography, Jesus, the One who dwells in unapproachable light (1 Timothy 6:16) seared his image on the linen cloth as supernatural rays of light poured through over 300 wounds covering his body from head to foot, front and back. Did you know that scientists have discovered the image of man of the Shroud has photographic properties?

In 1534, Poor Clare nuns sewed patches over the burn holes in the Shroud caused by fire. What they wrote of their experience may be a clue, “[…] the diversity of the strokes make us see that they used different kinds of scourges, as rods twisted with thorns, iron ropes that tore him so cruelly that looking at the Shroud from below, when he was lying on the cloth of support, we saw the wounds as we were looking through a glass window.

What Does Scripture Say?

"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 came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it, (John 1:1-5)."

This invites us to ponder . . .

  • If the light of Jesus can produce through his wounds an image of himself on a piece of cloth, what can he produce as light through the darkness of my wounds?
  • Could it be my imperfections are not an obstacle to my Christian mission but rather make it so Christ’s light shines stronger through me?

Pope Francis’ Angelus message adds clarity:

“Today’s Gospel passage (cf. Mk 6:7-13) narrates the moment Jesus sends the Twelve [Apostles] on mission. […] the mission has a center; the mission has a face.

First of all, the missionary disciple has his center of reference who is Jesus himself […] so that the going out and working of the Twelve appears to be radiating from a center, reaffirming the presence and work of Jesus in their missionary actions. […] The second characteristic of the missionary’s style is, so to speak, a face, which consists in the poverty of means.[…] This episode of the Gospel also applies to […] all baptized people called to witness to the Gospel of Christ in the various spheres of life. And for us too, this mission is authentic only in so far as its unchanging center who is Jesus.”

At the beginning of each year, we look for how we can begin anew. If we heed the advice of self-help types who guide us to put ourselves at the center of our efforts, we usually fail.

This year, how can we instead put Jesus at our center, so we become a natural consequence of his supernatural work in us?

Whenever I am unsure about how to do God’s will I have learned to go to the Virgin Mary for help. God gave the Virgin Mary a singular Christian mission and that is to guide every soul to Jesus. As the Mother of God and our mother, she takes her mission very seriously.

Two ways I have discovered ensures the Virgin Mary’s unfailing help so we can radiate the light of Christ to the world:

  1. Daily Rosary: So much can be found on the blessings that come through the praying of the Rosary. Our Lady in her many apparitions gives this way as a sure path to her Son, growing in holiness and a spiritual weapon in the battle for souls. If praying an entire Rosary seems undoable, start with a decade or even one Hail Mary as you mediate on a Mystery a day.
  2. Consecration to Jesus through Mary: St. Louis de Montfort , St. Maximilian Kolbe among other saints and present-day Catholic theologians offer methods on how to consecrate yourself to Jesus through Mary as a sure way to keep Jesus as the light of your life. A quick internet search will bring up several methods, or you can simply ask our Lady every day to take you to her Son.

For both ways,  consistency is the key to success. Ask the Virgin Mary, Mediatrix of all Grace, to grant the necessary graces to follow-through on all your goodwill plans for 2024.

If you want help, contact Pilgrim Center of Hope. Like the Virgin Mary, our Christian mission is to guide people to Christ and the Church, and we too take our mission very seriously!

Nan Balfour is a grateful Catholic whose greatest desire is to make our Lord Jesus more loved. She seeks to accomplish this through her vocation to womanhood, marriage, and motherhood, as a writer, Missionary of Hope, Prayer Intercessor, Speaker Team member, and Volunteer for Pilgrim Center of Hope.

Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life. See what’s happening & let us journey with you! Visit