If you’ve never been to Cave of the Winds it’s well worth the trip. The guided tour has several memorable moments but one in particular comes to mind with this prophecy of Isaiah from today’s first reading. Deep in the caves, the guide turns off the lights, allowing everyone to experience total darkness. Even after your eyes have time to adjust, you cannot see your hand right in front of your face. It’s a darkness that we don’t experience in our daily lives. Then the guide, in this total darkness, lights a single lantern. It’s amazing how the limited light from that single source vanquishes the darkness, even though it does not illuminate the surrounding cave completely.
The point is simple: dungeons were (are) dark. Anyone who is imprisoned in one knows the bleakness of darkness and how it can sap the soul of any hope or strength. The Nazi’s used dungeons extensively at Auschwitz.
It’s worth reflecting on darkness in our lives of Faith. Again, we don’t experience that extreme darkness because there are so many signs and reminders of God everywhere. Some exist as His creative genius, others are made by man. Even though the prince of the world wants to devoid it of any reference to the Almighty, whose generative love keeps it and us alive, it is hard not to encounter some reminder of God. Yes, there are those who choose to push Him out of there lives. There are those who exclude any reference to Him in their daly encounters with the world. There are those who actively deny His existence and some who actively worship the devil in place of God. They try to build a dungeon around themselves, and live in darkness.
The first thing that God created was light, and He separated the light from the darkness. The first thing Christ brought into the world was light, hope to dispel the darkness of ignorance, and the Father validated this New Hope at Our Lord’s Baptism, beginning the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy.