As I write this we’ve just had the first termite swarm of the season hear around the rectory. It wasn’t a very big one compared to what we had last year, but I imagine it’s going to get worse. Imagine my surprise as I was sitting in my chair reading and a termite falls right into my lap. I checked the doors and found that they were crawling in through the cracks in the front and back doors. I turned off all of the exterior lights and as many of the inside lights as I could spare, and that helped a lot. I imagine we’ll be seeing swarms of termites around the light poles soon.
The way termites are attracted to light got me thinking. Why are they attracted to light? Scientists aren’t actually sure, but many of them think it’s because they mistake artificial lights for natural lights and get confused. If, for example, they’re trying to use the sun or moon to help navigate, they can get confused by a light bulb and end up flying circles around it, which makes them easy pickings for predators or bug zapping lamps.
This is a great example for the spiritual life. We are attracted to the light of Christ and naturally want to move towards Him. When we follow the light of Christ we find meaning, joy, and true life. Unfortunately, we often confuse mere reflections of the light of Christ for Christ Himself. These are genuinely good things that truly reflect the light and goodness of Christ, like human sexuality, food and drink, the respect of other people, money, and so many other things. These are all good things and gifts from God, but they are mere reflections of God, Who is the source of all goodness.
If we confuse them for the true Light of Christ, then we end up circling our lives around them and don’t get to where we’re meant to end up, which is union with God in heaven. We should use these things as God intended them, and see His own light and goodness reflected in them, but keep our eyes fixed on the true Light of the World, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Fr. Bryan was pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes from July 3, 2017 to June 2022.