“The light shines in the darkness / and the darkness has not overcome it.”
Dante, Inferno, Canto III, lines 7-9 (trans. Clive James) – “From now on, every day feels like your last forever. Let that be your greatest fear. Your future now is to regret the past. Forget your hopes. They were what brought you here.” [Dante Alighieri. The Divine Comedy, translated by Clive James (p. 15). Liveright, 2013. Kindle Edition.]
Isaiah 25 (NABRE) –
7 On this mountain he will destroy
the veil that veils all peoples,
The web that is woven over all nations. 
Romans 8 (NABRE): 24 For in hope we were saved. Now hope that sees for itself is not hope. For who hopes for what one sees?s 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait with endurance. 
Proverbs 29 (Eugene Peterson) –
18 If people can’t see what God is doing,
they stumble all over themselves;
But when they attend to what He reveals,
they are most blessed.
Dear Peregrinus (on the anniversary of the opening of the Council of Chalcedon in 451 CE):
I have just gotten in from raking and sweeping leaves on this autumn morning. We are already a third of the way through October (!), and local universities have already finished with Midterm Exams.
October! The tenth month with a name meaning “eight”. Such a beautiful month when Nature shows us what it means to let go (do not cling!), to trust growth – loss and gain! I need October to be slow, so that I, slow to learn what it teaches, have time to attend to its lessons.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
But then there is this, Peregrinus. What is it about a lighthouse (see photo above) that so captures the imagination?
When I was young, in my twenties, I read ancient accounts of the lighthouse at Alexandria, Egypt, on the island of Pharos, built thereupon sometime between 300 and 280 BCE, and remaining a beacon for mariners for 1,600 years. As the image of that ancient wonder constituted itself in my 20-years old imagination, I felt a thrill, a form of longing, thrumming within me. It was for me an experience of Poetry – an isolate tower; a powerful light sweeping over the deep – a sonorous wind, the sky, and the night.
3 *All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.b
What came to be 4 through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;c
5 *the light shines in the darkness,d
and the darkness has not overcome it. 
So, I ask you, Peregrinus, what is it about lighthouses? For me, they are something about this.
A lighthouse is about the light … and sometimes about the sound (foghorns). This may cause us to forget about the lighthouse Keepers who live an intensely isolated (and likely a monotonous) life. They have one purpose (the blessing of having just one!), and that is to make sure that the light never goes out. People unknown to them (mariners and their passengers) depend on them, their very lives rely on the Keepers to keep the light on. (In this regard the Keepers are like the theologians and philosophers who work in service to the Kingdom of God, who keep the Light on.)
I feel my own deepest purpose, and zeal, expressed in this: never to let the Light go out. Jesus understood Himself the same way.
John 8:12 Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”f
I am grateful for the people who through history and even within my own history, have made sure that the Light (of goodness, truth, and beauty) stayed on.
Luke 18:40 Then Jesus stopped and ordered that he be brought to him; and when he came near, Jesus asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?” He replied, “Lord, please let me see.”t
Psalm 119:105, from the “Nun” section of this, the longest of the Psalms in the Bible:
105 Your word is a lamp for my feet,
a light for my path. 
As “lighthouses” do, so these people serve two essential purposes: (1) they are a “clearness” through which the divine Light passes, with sufficient brightness, so that we others can see our way “through the shoals, reefs, and rocks” of our increasingly treacherous world; and (2) their distinctive personalities serve as points of reference, so that we have in them concrete examples of what it looks like for a person to let the Light of God, the glory, stream through himself or herself into the world, the Light “shaped” or “interpreted” by his or her unique experiences.
Matthew 5:14-16 (J.B. Phillips) – “You are the world’s light—it is impossible to hide a town built on the top of a hill. Men do not light a lamp and put it under a bucket. They put it on a lamp-stand and it gives light for everybody in the house. “Let your light shine like that in the sight of men. Let them see the good things you do and praise your Father in Heaven.”
How impoverished my life would have been, Peregrinus, and how lost I likely would have become, if I had not been shown how to find “lighthouse” people – (saints, the deeply wise – both those still living among us and those long ago among our Ancestors – best friends, the powerfully portrayed fictional characters of great Literature, etc.). And then I, with long diligence, who taught myself how to “read” them who then taught me how to receive their instruction.
I recall Gerard Manley Hopkins, SJ, who, in a poem praising the Blessed Virgin Mary, had this to say about her essential greatness: her grace-given ability to let nimbly burst through her the glory of God, the Light Uncreated pouring through her into the created world:
This one work has to do—
Let all God’s glory through,
God’s glory which would go
Through her and from her flow
Off, and no way but so.
This past week, I found my way illuminated by one of my “lighthouse” friends – the author of the biblical book of Psalms. He wrote in Psalm 117:
1 Praise the Lord, all you nations!
Extol him, all you peoples!a
2 His mercy for us is strong;
the faithfulness of the Lord is forever.
This is the shortest of all of the Psalms, and it is the shortest “chapter” in the entire Bible. One scholar writes, “The shortest psalm proves, in fact, to be one of the most potent and most seminal.” Another commentor concludes: “For all its brevity and typicality, Psalm 117 makes a claim that is long on significance and anything but routine. The claim is simple but breathtaking: Praising God is the proper vocation and goal of human life!” And yet another scholar notes that Martin Luther (himself an outstanding biblical scholar) “wrote a very long commentary upon these two verses on the grounds that they were basic to our understanding of the love of God…. ‘As I see it,’ Luther declared, ‘the whole book of Acts was written because of this psalm.’”
What struck me this time as I studied this Psalm is the implied warning not to get too cozily complacent about our particular “nation”, or perhaps, “tribe” (i.e., our preferred ways of thinking and acting; our attitudes; our racial privileges or lack of them; our social class; our political affiliations, etc.) and then concluding much too quickly as to who is my enemy … rather than considering with far more patience, and humility, who is my neighbor.
Luke 10 – 36 Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?” 37 He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” 
To my way of seeing the meaning of this Psalm, if we cannot learn to stand with “all nations” – the long and difficult work of learning other languages (for starters!), or reading the best literature of the nations that we have been taught to hate – then we to that degree will never understand the love of God, the love that God is.
There simply is no way around that “all you nations … all you peoples … His mercy for us is strong.”
This Psalm gives me HOPE, or better, the Psalmist is practicing HOPE as a verb – making himself available to God Who sees all of us, and Who expects all of us to learn how to see all of us as He does. The Psalmist writes himself into this profound understanding of the love of God.
I feel such divine HOPE kindle in me when I imagine God “removing the veil” (in the words of the First Reading at today’s Sunday Eucharist) – removing (“destroying”!) the “veil” or “web” of mutual distrust among peoples and nations and races and social classes.
Isaiah 25 (NABRE) –
7 On this mountain God will destroy
the veil that veils all peoples,
The web that is woven over all nations. 
Well, old friend, I have promised to drive out into the Yamhill Valley in just forty-minutes from now, to be present at a book-launching at the country home of a couple whose book (their first) they had asked me to review for them and for their publisher. I am proud of them, and so I will brave this rainy afternoon and drive myself out there. But first, I need to get myself something to eat, because I have not yet eaten today, and it is already 12:20 PM on this Sunday!
And here, Peregrinus, is a line for you from one of the novels of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle called The Valley of Fear, found in Part I of that novel called “The Tragedy of Birlstone”:
Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognizes genius.
I am grateful for you in my life, Peregrinus. Remember me.
Your old friend in Christ on the pilgrim’s road,
 The Hollanders’ translation of these lines stick closer to the Italian: “ BEFORE ME NOTHING WAS BUT THINGS ETERNAL,  AND ETERNAL I ENDURE.  ABANDON ALL HOPE, YOU WHO ENTER HERE.” These first nine lines of Canto III are capitalized in the Italian. The Italian reads: “Dinanzi a me non fuor cose create → se non etterne, e io etterno duro. Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate.” [Dante. Inferno (Kindle Locations 13439-13444). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.]
 Inferno, Canto III, Lines 1-9 record what was written, in capital letters, over the dreadful Gate through which Dante and his guide Virgil will pass into Hell. The last three lines are the most famous of the nine lines, though I would say that they are not the most important of the nine lines.
 New American Bible, Revised Edition. (Washington, DC: The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2011), Is 25:7.
s 2 Cor 5:7; Heb 11:1.
 New American Bible, Revised Edition. (Washington, DC: The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2011), Ro 8:24–25.
 Eugene H. Peterson, The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2005), Pr 29:18.
 The Council of Chalcedon was the Fourth Ecumenical Council – “The statement of the Catholic Faith made by the Council of Chalcedon of 451CE, and eventually accepted in both E. and W., except by the *Oriental Orthodox Churches. It reaffirms the definitions of *Nicaea and *Constantinople, asserting them to be a sufficient account of the orthodox faith about the Person of Christ, but declares that the new errors of *Nestorius and *Eutyches must be formally repudiated. It therefore expressly excluded the views (1) of those who deny the title *Theotokos (‘Mother of God’) to the Virgin *Mary, thereby implying that the humanity of Christ is separable from His Divine Person; and (2) of those who confuse the Divine and human natures in one, and therefore hold that the Divine nature is by this confusion passible [i.e., changeable].” [F. L. Cross and Elizabeth A. Livingstone, eds., The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 317–318.]
 https://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/months/october.html – Regarding October: “October always had 31 days, and it became the tenth month of the year when the months of January and February were added [in 153 BCE], pushing October towards the end of the solar year, which is around 365.24 days long…. October is in the fall in the Northern Hemisphere, the month after the autumnal equinox. However, as seasons are opposite on either side of the equator, October is in the spring in the Southern Hemisphere. The seasonal equivalent is April in the opposite hemisphere.”
 Because October feels to me a month particularly associated with conversion – it is just how I feel it – this expression “loss and gain” I use here in relation to a famous novel of St. John Henry Newman (1801-1890), to which he gave the name Loss and Gain. See Wikipedia: “Loss and Gain is a philosophical novel by John Henry Newman published in 1848. It depicts the culture of Oxford University in the mid-Victorian era and the conversion of a young student to Roman Catholicism. The novel went through nine editions during Newman’s lifetime, and thirteen printings. It was the first work Newman published after his conversion to Roman Catholicism in 1845.” On October 9, the Church celebrates the life of St. John Henry Newman (1801-1890) who was declared a saint by Pope Francis on October 13, 2019. He was Beatified by Pope Benedict XVI on 19 September 2010.
 The Oxford English Dictionary at the verb “to learn” – intransitive. “To acquire knowledge of a subject or matter; to receive instruction.”
 The Oxford English Dictionary at the verb “to beguile” – “To cheat (hopes, expectations, aims, or a person in them); to disappoint, to foil.” So interesting to me how this verb’s original meaning has to do with deception, with tricking someone or cheating him or her. This is not the meaning that Frost is using here in his poem. He is using an equally early 13th century meaning: “To win the attention or interest of (any one) by wiling means; to charm, divert, amuse; to wile (one) on, or into any course.”
 From the “petition” section of this lovely poem by Robert Frost called “October”. See: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/53084/october-56d23212a5b72.
 The Ancient History Encyclopedia at “Lighthouse of Alexandria” – “The Lighthouse of Alexandria was built on the island of Pharos outside the harbours of Alexandria, Egypt c. 300 – 280 BCE, during the reigns of Ptolemy I and II. With a height of over 100 metres (330 ft), it was so impressive that it made it onto the established list of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Although now lost, the structure’s lasting legacy, after standing for over 1600 years, is that it gave its Greek name ‘Pharos’ to the architectural genre of any tower with a light designed to guide mariners. Perhaps influencing later Arab minaret architecture and certainly creating a whole host of copycat structures in harbours around the Mediterranean, the lighthouse was, after the pyramids of Giza, the tallest structure in the world built by human hands….. The lighthouse, we are informed by a contemporary writer named Poseidippos, was intended to guide and protect sailors and to that end was dedicated to two gods, Zeus Soter (Deliverer) – whose dedicatory inscription on the tower was made with half-metre high letters – and possibly Proteus, the Greek sea god, also known as the ‘Old man of the Sea’.” Apparently the tower was clad in white marble (how bright it must have flashed in the sunshine!) and was built to ensure that mariners coming in from the Mediterranean Sea could find and successfully to negotiate passage into safe harbor – the most important port in the eastern Mediterranean. Notice how the lighthouse in the photograph supplied here is painted white as if in imitation of the Lighthouse of Alexandria.
 The Oxford English Dictionary at the 16th century verb “to thrum” – intransitive. “To play on a stringed instrument, as a guitar, harp, etc., by plucking the strings; to play on any stringed instrument in an idle, mechanical, or unskillful way; to strum.”
 The Oxford English Dictionary at the adjective “sonorous” – “That makes a loud or resonant sound; capable of producing a loud sound, esp. of a deep or ringing character.”
* What came to be: while the oldest manuscripts have no punctuation here, the corrector of Bodmer Papyrus P75, some manuscripts, and the Ante-Nicene Fathers take this phrase with what follows, as staircase parallelism. Connection with Jn 1:3 reflects fourth-century anti-Arianism.
b Ps 33:9; Wis 9:1; Sir 42:15; 1 Cor 8:6; Col 1:16; Heb 1:2; Rev 3:14.
c 5:26; 8:12; 1 Jn 1:2.
* The ethical dualism of light and darkness is paralleled in intertestamental literature and in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Overcome: “comprehend” is another possible translation, but cf. Jn 12:35; Wis 7:29–30.
d 3:19; 8:12; 9:5; 12:35, 46; Wis 7:29–30; 1 Thes 5:4; 1 Jn 2:8.
 New American Bible, Revised Edition. (Washington, DC: The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2011), Jn 1:3–5.
 The Oxford English Dictionary at the noun, from around 1300 CE, “keeper” – “One who has charge, care, or oversight of any person or thing; a guardian, warden, custodian.”
 Jeff Harder, “How Lighthouses Work” – https://adventure.howstuffworks.com/lighthouse.htm – “In an era before GPS and other navigational apparatuses, lighthouses served two primary purposes. The first was illuminating waterways made treacherous by shoals, reefs, rocks and other hazards as ships left the open ocean and pulled into port. Most lighthouses also include fog signals such as horns, bells or cannons, which sound to warn ships of hazards during periods of low visibility. The second purpose is to serve as a reference to mariners. An individual lighthouse distinguished itself with its day mark — the color schemes and patterns on the tower — and its light signature. For example, a lighthouse might emit two flashes every three seconds to distinguish it from a lighthouse that emits four flashes every three seconds. Even today, if the GPS goes on the fritz, crews reference light lists to plot a course — those regional indices of lighthouses and their distinguishing traits…. Lighthouses have been around since ancient Egypt. The Tower of Hercules, built by the Romans in northern Spain during the first century A.D., remains the oldest functioning lighthouse in the world.”
f 1:4–5, 9; 12:46; Ex 13:22; Is 42:6; Zec 14:8.
 New American Bible, Revised Edition. (Washington, DC: The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2011), Jn 8:12.
t Mk 10:36.
 New American Bible, Revised Edition. (Washington, DC: The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2011), Lk 18:40–41.
 New American Bible, Revised Edition. (Washington, DC: The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2011), Ps 119:105. Eugene Peterson, The Message, translates/interprets in this way: “By your words I can see where I’m going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path.”
 The beautiful faces of those who are deeply wise and whose demeanor proves that they come from considerable depth, “shape” or “interpret” the divine Light that pours through them in their manner, their words, their gestures, and in their silences. Concerning his “lighthouse” friends, Gerard Manley Hopkins, SJ in his poem, “The Lantern out of Doors”, writes: “They rain against our much-thick and marsh air / Rich beams, till death or distance buys them quite.”
 For me, the greatest number of my “lighthouse” people are long dead, even thousands of years dead, stretching all the way back to the author of the Sumerian epic Gilgamesh, who tells with such eloquence the story of a friendship, and the degree of suffering of, and the loss of meaning experienced by, Gilgamesh when his dearest of friends, Enkidu, dies. The Ancient History Encyclopedia online: “Gilgamesh is the semi-mythic King of Uruk in Mesopotamia best known from The Epic of Gilgamesh (written c. 2150 – 1400 BCE) the great Sumerian/Babylonian poetic work which pre-dates Homer’s writing by 1500 years and, therefore, stands as the oldest piece of epic world literature. The motif of the quest for the meaning of life is first fully explored in Gilgamesh as the hero-king leaves his kingdom following the death of his best friend, Enkidu, to find the mystical figure Utnapishtim and gain eternal life. Gilgamesh’s fear of death is actually a fear of meaninglessness and, although he fails to win immortality, the quest itself gives his life meaning. This theme has been explored by writers and philosophers from antiquity up to the present day.” See: https://member.ancient.eu/gilgamesh/, the article by Joshua J. Mark (March 2018).
 The Oxford English Dictionary at “instruction” – “That which is taught; knowledge or authoritative guidance imparted by one person to another. Also as a count noun: a thing taught; a lesson; an informative or edifying rule or example (usually in plural).”
 The Oxford English Dictionary at “glory”, but specifically concerning the expression the glory of God: “the honour of God, considered as the final cause of creation, and as the highest moral aim of intelligent creatures.”
 Gerard Manley Hopkins, SJ (1844-1889), “The Blessed Virgin compared to the Air we Breathe”. See: https://hopkinspoetry.com/poem/the-blessed-virgin/.
 The traditionally stated author of the Book of Psalms is David, who became King, and who was a special friend of God – his Hebrew name means “beloved of God.” J. Coert Rylaarsdam writes in Britannica: “David, (flourished c. 1000 BCE), second king of ancient Israel. He was the father of Solomon, who expanded the empire that David built. He is an important figure in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.” David almost certainly wrote psalms, some of which in the Psalter scholars do attribute to his authorship (e.g., Psalm 51). But “author” in the biblical world could include all of those who deliberately sought to imitate the revered forebearer. And when what he or she wrote (even centuries after King David) was judged “worthy of David”, that poem was attributed to David. Concerning the book of Psalms: “Psalms is not only the Bible’s longest book; it is the Bible’s most diverse, both literarily and theologically. Nowhere else in the Scriptures is found such a varied collection of religious poetry, with 150 psalms in the Hebrew text and 151 psalms in the LXX [the Septuagint]. As the product of several centuries of ancient Israel’s religious life, the Psalter features an array of discursive forms including prayers, hymns, didactic poems, and even a wedding song. On the one hand, nearly every theological chord of the OT resounds throughout the Psalter. On the other hand, the Psalter consists primarily of human discourse, both joyous and anguished. In the psalms, the anthropological and the theological are inseparably wedded.” [William P. Brown, “Psalms, Book Of,” ed. Katharine Doob Sakenfeld, The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2006–2009), 661.]
a Rom 15:11.
 This is the famous hesed-love of God – joint obligation between relatives, friends, host and guest, master and servant; closeness, solidarity, loyalty: [Ludwig Koehler et al., The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1994–2000), 336.] It is often translated as “steadfast love” or “loyal love”.
 This is emeth in Hebrew, which means “firmness, trustworthiness; constancy, duration; faithfulness; truth.”
 New American Bible, Revised Edition. (Washington, DC: The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2011), Ps 117.
 The Oxford English Dictionary at “seminal” – “Having the properties of seed; containing the possibility of future development. Also, frequently used of books, work, etc., which are highly original and influential; more loosely: important, central to the development or understanding of a subject.”
 Derek Kidner, Psalms 73–150: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 16, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1975), 447.
 J. Clinton Mccann Jr., “The Book of Psalms,” in New Interpreter’s Bible, ed. Leander E. Keck, vol. 4 (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1994–2004), 1150.
 George Angus Fulton Knight, Psalms, vol. 2, The Daily Study Bible Series (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2001), 204.
 The Oxford English Dictionary at the adjective “complacent” – “Feeling or showing pleasure or satisfaction, esp. in one’s own condition or doings; self-satisfied.” In our contemporary American usage, I think “complacent” is nearly always meant in a negative sense.
 The Oxford English Dictionary at the noun “nation” – “A large aggregate of communities and individuals united by factors such as common descent, language, culture, history, or occupation of the same territory, so as to form a distinct people.”
 New American Bible, Revised Edition. (Washington, DC: The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2011), Lk 10:36–37.
 “to stand with” – I mean operating from a radical/root conviction that we all do belong to one another, because God, Who loves us and sustains all of us, put us here, at this point in the space-time continuum, so that we might find each other and learn how to be at common cause for His greater glory, all the while enjoying the great richness of life given us amidst so many companions.
 I was re-educated recently, in an article on Hope by Michael Scanlon, OSA (i.e., an Augustinian), about the profound thoughts of Karl Rahner, SJ (1904-1984) on Christian hope. Rahner wrote that the theological (supernatural) virtues of faith and love are foundationally grounded in hope – hope, as he puts it, is spe formata; that is, faith and love are “formed by hope.” He then powerfully explains about hope (articulated here by Scanlon): “In light of the trinitarian formulation of the foundational Christian mystery of God’s self-communication to humanity through Christ and in the Spirit, hope becomes human hospitality for the divine guest. Hope is the human spirit as receptive to the divine indwelling, while faith and love are correlated with Christ and the Spirit as the two ways that the one God comes to us. Thus is hope the grace-enabled surrender of self to the self-giving God. Hope remains forever as our capacity for God to be our salvation.”
 I like this way of putting it – “he writes himself into his understanding” – because that is how it is so often with me. When I have begun to write about something, I still do not understand it, or sufficiently grasp that about which I am writing. It is only in the writing that I am led to a new, or more sufficient, understanding – “I write myself (from not understanding) into an understanding.”
 New American Bible, Revised Edition. (Washington, DC: The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2011), Is 25:7. And about this passage a trenchant comment: “Eating sparingly with little variation in diet was the rule for most people in the ancient world. Little wonder then that a lavish banquet became a potent symbol of the restoration of God’s rule on the earth (see also Joel 2:24–26; 4:18; Ezra 3:13; Matt 22:1–10; Luke 14:15–24). What is significant about this passage is its assertion that “all nations” will share in that banquet since God will lift the veil that obscures the vision of the nations, bringing an end to that which keeps Israel and the nations apart.” [Leslie J. Hoppe, Isaiah, ed. Daniel Durken, vol. 13, The New Collegeville Bible Commentary (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2012), 67–68.]
 Doyle, Arthur Conan. The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes: The Novels (slip-cased Edition) (Vol. 3), Kindle location 12648. W.W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition. I have now just about read my way through the entire Sherlock Holmes stories. When I have finished The Valley of Fear, I will have concluded, for now, my long companionship with Sherlock Holmes and his closest friend, Dr. Watson – my companionship with them through every one of the stories.
 The Oxford English Dictionary at the noun “pilgrim” – “A person on a journey, a person who travels from place to place; a traveller, a wanderer, an itinerant. Also in early use: a foreigner, an alien, a stranger. Now literary and poetic.”
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