In the quiet moments before dawn, a profound silence seems to envelop the world. During these times, the darkest hours just before the light, our hearts often grapple with the most profound despair. Yet, in this waiting, it is precisely here that we find the potential for the greatest hope.
St. Gregory of Narek, a great figure in Armenian spirituality, profoundly understood this dichotomy: “When your torch of hope is there, even the night is dawn for me.” (Prayer 65) These words, written with the pain and beauty of a soul intimately acquainted with suffering, remind us that it is not the absence of darkness that defines our hope but the presence of a light that darkness cannot overcome.
As we navigate various trials of our time, feeling overwhelmed is a common experience. Despite the remarkable advancements of our time, they cannot cure every illness, mend every broken heart, or prevent every disaster. In such moments, hope can appear fragile and easily shattered, resembling a small candle flame fighting to stay alight amidst a powerful wind.
So, let us ask God’s torch of hope to guide us when we seem to lose our way. This is no ordinary hope; it is not merely the power of positive thinking or the natural resilience of the human spirit. This hope comes from the shadowless rays of God’s glorious mercy. As we pray with St. Gregory of Narek:
“Upon the dawning of the shadowless rays of your glorious mercy, sins fade, demons are chased away, transgressions are erased, shackles are loosened, chains are broken, the dead are brought to life, ailments are cured, wounds are healed, corruption ceases, sadness withdraws, sighs retreat, darkness flees, fog disperses, haze recedes, gloom scatters, obscurity clears, darkness dissipates, the night passes, anxiety is banished, evil is wiped out, despair is chased away. Besides, your omnipotent hand rules, Reconciler of all.” AMEN
(St. Gregory of Narek, Prayer 41).