‘We have a wonderful picture here: St Paul’s favourite picture of light and darkness. St Paul frequently calls the time before the advent of grace the night of the spirit. The time of grace is the light of day. “Once you were all darkness; now, in the Lord, you are all daylight. Walk, then, as children of the light.” Here St Paul distinguishes clearly between what we are and what we do. You Gentile Christians, he says, lived formerly in the night of the deprivation of grace, cut off from God. But now you are standing in the sunlight of grace. Grace, then, is first and foremost a state of our being. Then follows action – walking as children of the light. St Paul says much the same thing in today’s Epistle [Romans 13.11-14] – only he expresses it far more beautifully. The life that is past was the night of no-grace. We were then asleep. We could do nothing that would earn us any merit. We were wearing the night-attire of sin. But now the night is past. The day has dawned and grace has come to us. We must put on our day-attire – not civilian clothes, however, but a military uniform, a battledress, our armour; and yet no dull, iron-grey armour, but an armour of light. The Christian is a knight clad in shining armour. I am reminded of a scene in the Apocalypse: Christ riding on a white horse, clad in a blood-stained cloak, and behind Him a retinue of horsemen on white chargers clad in pure white linen’.
from Seasons of Grace, 1963, by Pius Parsch, 1884–1954
Fr Lee Kenyon