"Awake thou that sleepeth, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light"--this prophetic verse written by St. Paul to the Ephesians is inspired by a verse from Isaiah, "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee." Indeed, the theme of light as an image of God's revelation is a golden thread that ties together both Testaments--old and new. Truly the light of Christ illumines all: but to the spiritually blind, this lights is manifest as an impenetrable darkness.
In the beginning, "darkness was upon the face of the deep... and God said, Let there be light!" This is not the physical light of the sun, but the very same uncreated light that Christ revealed to His chosen disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration--the same light He bestows upon those who strive to purify their hearts and to sweep clean the house of their souls. But in order to behold this light, we must first awaken from the sleep of sin and earthbound delusion, casting off that shroud of lethargy that lulls us into mistaking a living death for the true and eternal life that shines forth in God's heavenly Kingdom.
And so St. Paul exhorts us that we should "walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil." Unfortunately, we tend to take time for granted--just as we take for granted the natural resource of water--as though it were unlimited--and we squander it frivolously, or even worse: we render it replete with evil thoughts, words and desires. We do not consider as we should that time is a precious and irreplaceable gift of God--a commodity that should be used wisely and reverently.
As St. Nectarios of Aegina (whom we commemorate today) has written, "The Divine Light illumines the pure heart and the pure intellect, because these are susceptible to receiving light; whereas impure hearts and intellects, not being susceptible to receiving illumination, have an aversion to the light of knowledge, the light of truth; they love darkness.... God loves those who have a pure heart, listens to their prayers, grants them their requests that lead to salvation, reveals Himself to them and teaches the mysteries of the Divine nature." So let us strive to become good stewards of the gift of time, casting aside the works of darkness--that we may be illumined both in this life and in the life to come with the transcendent and all-pure light of Christ.