“Those who Dwell in Darkness and in the Shadow of Death”
These well-known words from the “Benedictus,” which the Church prays each day at Lauds, refer, of course, to all of us, and serve as a salutary recall from distraction and division to gratitude for what we have been gifted and commitment to be bearers of blessing.
This morning, as I prayed them, I thought, with many others, of the passengers and crew of the Continental Connection flight to Buffalo. The story in today’s New York Times captures something of the poignancy:
It was perhaps not the most glamorous of destinations, or the most luxurious of flights: a turboprop plane pushing through wind and snow and fog to an ailing Rust Belt city. But for many of the passengers and crew aboard, it was a journey home, even if only after a day’s work, or a chance to reconnect with friends and family for a long holiday weekend.
And, as in all such disasters, there were tales of bad luck and terrible coincidence, of great life stories and modest love affairs, of long-awaited reunions turned into rituals of grief.
The “Collect” at the end of Lauds for Saturday of the First Week in Ordinary Time sums up the believer’s hope, for ourselves and all who dwell in the shadow of death:
O God, may the light of your risen Son shine in our hearts, so that freed from the darkness of sin, we may come to share the fullness of his glory, through Christ our Lord.
(Note: I base my version of the “Collect” upon the Italian translation which brings out more clearly the Christological foundation of Christian hope. I do not have the Latin original available. If anyone does, I would be interested in which translation shows greater fidelity to the Latin.)