Last year, on a date with my husband, we lingered in an antiques shop, where I found this blast from my past. I snapped the photo with my iPhone4s.
As a young child, I loved tapping out words on our family’s ribbon typewriter. Often our first loves as children translate somehow into our adult loves. I think that’s why I was drawn to take a photo of this typewriter. As a writer today, in this avocation and apostolate of writing for the Lord in the Catholic sphere of publishing and new media, I work daily with an electronic keyboard. Yet my delight never wavers to see new words appear on paper, or on a screen.
This new Catholic Photo Challenge considers darkness and light as captured in Isaiah 9: 1: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; Upon those who lived in a land of gloom a light has shone.”
The darkness and light — the black and white of the machine and the letter keys — stands out for me as a writer. It reminds me of the joy and the responsibility of writing within this sphere of Catholic life. Ever present in my work are the silent rhetorical evaluations: are my words bringing light to darkness, joy to gloom, direction to seekers?
It is a work that is both humbling and awesome.
One of my favorite books of the bible (I have several) is 1 John. The opening sentences of that letter allude to the profound joy in meeting and knowing Jesus. And the author offers this declaration of his letter’s intent, a kind of definition of writing.
We are writing this so that our joy may be complete. (1John 1: 4)
John’s phrase could easily capture my own reasons for writing. I write for the joy of the writing, sure enough, but I write that my deepest joy, my faith and life in Christ, might be seen and realized in what I say and do. In many ways, when I get to write about my own faith experiences, it wraps a proverbial bow around the gift of faith, making it complete. But in truth, the catechism teaches that faith is not complete until it finds itself in love’s action. Faith is not real faith until it is given away by words and deeds.
The apostles were compelled to share the faith, the message of the Jesus Christ. The message was “gospel” or “good news”. Indeed , their words and their witness brought light to darkness — as they shared about the fulfillment that is found in Jesus Christ, who is the object of all the longing capture in the prophet’s heart in Isaiah 9: 1!
In his very next sentence, John makes his meaning plain, revealing the echo of Isaiah and the prayer of his own writerly heart…
Now this is the message that we have heard from him and proclaim to you: God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all. (1John 1: 5.)