image The Annunciation by Henry Ossawa Tanner


You, the Holy, beckon but are just out of reach. Your light calls and continues beckoning. Are you still there?

Sounds of silent screams fill the space where there is no light within me — tugging at my heart, filling voids in my heart with lies.

Sunrays begin to stream in, beckoning, inspiring, lingering, loitering at times. The darkness fades, never seeming to disappear, only to dissipate.

To receive Your touch burns yet seems to heal scars. You see the open wounds oozing blood and filled with pus. My body is seared with preceding and imprinted pain. Light permeates and begins a type of mending process. Senses scattered in pieces, collected somehow. Maybe by Your gentle voice, calling and beckoning me to return to the healing light; effervescent filtered light sending streams of warmth.

To intuit Your presence seems a laden envelopment. Yet I perceive Your hallowed presence in the light. The constant light melts those cold crusts formed, molded and hardened with the repeated pattern over time. The discarded, concealed wounds softened by the gentle warmth, becoming pliable and manageable, reconfigure and urge my weary fatigued and fractured body to respond to Your respectful beckoning.

I listen laboriously — breathe in, breathe out — and sit waiting, struggling to decide, desirous of a quick solution, now, questioning the answer born in pain already made. Your light continues to filter and beckons more firmly. Your voice calls and now beckons with a peculiar nagging strength; still, in some way, not intrusive of my choice.

Yet once again, darkness reappears suddenly with unmanageable shaking tremors, terror again taking hold. Wondering when it will all come to an end: will the suffering ever stop? Your persistent light continues to flicker, sending warmth and beckons once again. The terror slightly retreats.

Confusion clouds emerge, hiding the persistent beckoning light; established fatigue manufactures a slow restrained pace of response within me. Sleep deprived and exhausted, searching for You.

My soul looks with eyes downcast seeking solace in Your words, in Your beckoning, considering an alternate truth — to live! Yet my body seems as stone, a solitary obelisk, unmovable.

Night falls. Your light reemerges renewed with increased sturdier streams of gentle, billowing warmth, wrapping and binding up the wounds so deep, only You know where they are — the glow gingerly applying healing balms — You patiently, persistently call me again, beckoning and gesturing for new beliefs, permeating my being with a humble strength.

Somehow I finally hear Your muffled voice now desperate to respond, and the words begin to unfold, begin to fall out, telling the forbidden secrets, now freed from the prison of the ancient dungeon. Slowly safety emerges, held secure in Your steady beckoning light, issuing a summons of truth. Live!! Choose Life!

Now held and enveloped in Your light, I find courage and my heart responds: I am your hand maid may it be so.

Please, let it be so. 

image The Annunciation by Henry Ossawa Tanner
Henry Ossawa Tanner: The Annunciation, 1898 Archival


Sharon Dillon is a Sister of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis currently residing at The Fireplace in Chicago. As a 15-year master special educator, writer and Franciscan spiritual director, she is always looking at life with a focus on the integration of theology with her Franciscan spirituality. Sister Sharon has previously served as the executive director of both the Franciscan Mission Service of North America and the Franciscan Federation of the Third Order for the United States, as well as board of directors president of My Own Place Inc., an agency that provides housing for individuals with special needs. Currently Sister Sharon teaches special education at a public middle school.

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