prayer beads

The Light

When I was seven I was given a gift. At a moment in my life when I had lied and hurt the people who cared about me most, God intervened and filled me with the Holy Spirit. The light that filled me was that gift, and still shines and guides me not only in the dark moments, but also the bright ones. Imagine being in a dark place. A place that has no exit, which fills you with fear. Too many times our life is like being trapped in such a place. It is the domain of the demon. The devil is always referred to as the prince of darkness. His mission is to rob of us the light that shines from the Holy Spirit. If you stop and think about the places and things we consider “bad” they mainly involve the dark. Bars and casinos are dark. Crimes often take place in darkness with no one to see. Most bad is somehow related to darkness and the realm of night. Planes flying into the World Trade Center can happen at nine in the morning, but most likely the plan was done far away from the light of those who could see. Even the most Sunlit day can host darkness. Darkness is the absence of the light of the Holy Spirit or the presence of the Lord. 

​There was a time of darkness that was my life prior to the gift that I was given. So powerful was the light that it blocked all that darkness from my heart and my mind. I can remember none of my life prior to the gift. The Holy Spirit took away the bad; it wasn’t needed. There was nothing to learn from it, just hurt. A soul filled with light wants no darkness. There can be none. The light shines, it erases the dark. That happened to me. All that was bad, all that was unholy, was all washed by the light. Later in my life, there was a time I was battling a darkness and I fell prey to it. I did all the wrong I could possibly do. But in time, the light showed me back to good. I thank God for the light of his love. Most people here in this life have not gone through what happened to me so long ago.

​The story is actually simple. My grandfather asked me not to go to a yard to play. I lied and told him I wouldn’t. When he left, I ran over to the yard, had an accident and suffered a fatal injury to my head. I say it was fatal since when I was in a little operating room at a local clinic with all my family circled around me and looking up at the circular light they use in such places, I heard the doctor saying to my family “He’s gone. He’s gone. I’m so sorry. He’s gone.” I couldn’t close my eyes and I could see them all. I watched each of my family watch me die, and saw the horror and grief on their faces. I did that to them. If I had listened to my grandfather, if I had done the right thing, none of us would have been there. When I told my grandfather I would do as he asked, it was nine o’clock in the morning and darkness had filled my soul as I lied. As I died my soul left my body. To me it was as simple as I thought I had been able to close my eyes even though I couldn’t. When I opened them again, I was in a small room. It was filled with a warm, comforting light. I was lying in a bed. All things in the room, including me, had a glow of the same light. Everything, including me, was made of light. A woman appeared. She asked me with the slightest smile if I was thirsty. I was. She reached down and the light formed a table. On the table was a glass. It was made of the same light. It was a clear glass with a clear liquid and had a clear straw. She handed it to me and I drank it and felt refreshed. She took it from me and put it back on the table and as I watched they simply returned to the state of light like all else – no longer a table and glass. I realized that everything was whatever it needed to be. That all things came from this light. That the woman was light, and that I was too. She sat on the bed with me. She looked at me and smiled. I was okay. More than can be described. I closed my eyes. I opened them again. I was in the same room but now it was not made from the light. It was darker. A doctor who had once treated me for an ear ache in a city far away while travelling was there. He asked me my name. I told him. He smiled and said “Good.” I closed my eyes. I opened my eyes again. I could only see out of one. It was hot, I couldn’t move. My face was covered with bandages except over my right eye, mouth and nose. I was so unhappy. I was back. I was alive. I wanted to be back in the room of light. I realized that I was very hurt physically. I was in a room. A room in a hospital. My uncle was there in a chair. I could just barely see him through the bandages. I called the best I could to him. He was sleeping but heard me and woke up. He told me I was dead for a while but somehow came back. I was very sad to hear that. I was so joyful in the light. At that time I didn’t understand much other than the above. I was playing, the next moment I was in the light room, then I was in a hospital ward being told I actually had died for about five minutes and that I had injuries that would most likely keep me from living past 18, or that I could die at any moment if I had any sort of blow to my head. I couldn’t see out of my left eye, I couldn’t hear out of my left ear, and I couldn’t remember anything before the day of the accident. My life really started in the room of light. That is my earliest memory. What happened next was a major part of the gift. Fearing that I might die at any time, my family worked with a local Catholic Church and school to get me baptized, receive Holy Communion, and teach me catechism. I was a special case in that I couldn’t go to school due to my injuries, so the Church assigned a nun to be my teacher of catechism and prepare me for my first Holy Communion. Her name was Sister Maria and she was full of smiles and joy. She was older and quite experienced, and was the most valued teacher at the school. She volunteered to be my tutor. That was typical of everything I was to experience with her; she was a giving soul. For me, what was so special about meeting Sister Maria was that I was able to go to her classroom. She had been teaching there for over 30 years and the room was full of the most wonderful religious items of every sort. Statues, plaques, books, pictures, and most of all, glass items. Stained glass, glass figures, glass prisms, glass rosaries and beads. The room was so full of the various colored glass items that during my visits in the late afternoon, the room was filled with dazzling reflections of prismatic light shining through items hung in the window. It was like being in the middle of a prism. Light, in its many colors that all make up white in the total, was everywhere. I was bathed in that light each day. It was like being in my death experience. The connection from being with the Holy Spirit and the light in the class was one and the same to me. I felt at home like I had in the presence of God and realized that the light shines here on Earth to all of us who dwell in the light. Later, in my extensive travels, I visited many churches and cathedrals. Like Sister Maria’s classroom, I realized that all the churches have stained glass windows that sent prismatic light to all who are there. I understood that light is the symbol of the Holy Spirit and to guide our way. You can’t help but be drawn to the light. Go to any church, you will always look at the windows. I remember virtually all the catechisms Sister Maria taught me, and it was training for life. I was baptized and received my Communion. But there was more. Walking carefully to one of my last classes with Sister Maria, I was walking across the playground of the school. There was a wonderful little outdoor grotto to pray at, and there was the Sister praying. I went up and said Hi, and asked her what she was doing. She said “I come here each day before our class to pray that you live long and are filled with love.” That day she gave me an abacus made of clear beads of different colors. I held them up to the window, and like everything else she had there, it reflected light everywhere in the room in a beautiful mix of colors. I had my own reminder of the light, and way to visit it at any time. I also learned the power of prayer. Sister Maria’s prayers for me to live long have been answered. The doctors said I would not make it to 18. I am now near 60.  

by T.U.