God Light

Light of the World Collection : Oberammergau, Germany 2006

Light of the World Collection: Oberammergau, Germany 2006

- "God Light"       is the breathtaking light that spills into a space, and fills it with God's presence. It can be rays of light coming from clouds, the illumination of the sun, the stars, the glow of the moon, or even light filtering in through a window.  "God Light" is a photographic term that is used to describe these moments that are breathtaking, and yet somewhat unexplainable...


And yet, in our own daily lives, sometimes we question... "Where is God's Light?"  "Is God Present here today?"  We are seekers and always seeking, to find God's light and love here on earth.  We are always looking for God's light in our lives or in the lives of others... we are starving to see God.  Yet, God is always present, and among us.  God is in the light that illuminates the day, our spirits, human hearts, the Word, and even the deep recesses of the human soul - - at the same time it is "God's light" that we depend on to get through everyday. We depend on God's Word, or we depend on God to be present -  even when we don't think we can see God, when all is dark and gray, and we have had the worst of days, or the worst of weeks....But we CAN see God present...even in this darkness, in these moments.  God's light is present through the compassion and care of others in our lives, through the silence that God gives us, through the smile on someone's face, through the aged lines of worry, care, and long life on the elderly, in the love that is shown to us by others or that we show others, in the baby crying for love and attention, in the squeals of children as they delight in tickles, presents, and fun, and even in the sick child - - But we still seek to find, and on a daily basis we take these little "delights" for granted. We overlook the love that is present and all around us, and we frequently fail to say thank you for it, and to give glory and praise to God for it - - instead, we keep seeking, wandering, and either not saying anything at all, or complaining.

Academy of Our Lady of Mercy: Lauralton Hall 2014

Academy of Our Lady of Mercy: Lauralton Hall 2014

During our seeking and wandering, however long that period may be, we either find we hope or we hope to find hope.....we find hope in the Word of God, we find hope in the Eucharist, we find hope in others or we turn to them to help us find hope.  We hope we can illuminate "the Light,"  be a light for others, and live out our faith faithfully full of light and life...we hope to see God's light in the darkness.  We hope that God truly is present, that all of the turmoil and sickness can make sense, that any pain and anguish people are going through has meaning, a purpose, or even can serve as something. We hope beyond hope.  We even sometimes hope that we can make a difference, either by bringing social justice to those situations that seem dark and without repair or healing, or by being present with the other. We join others in solidarity: sitting with them in the darkness.  We hope beyond hope that our lives make sense, that the lives of others make sense. We hope we can love and that we are showing Christ's love to others.  Yet, we recognize, that in certain moments, our lives may not make sense, at least to us anyway...and that we fail to love, or according to James Keenan SJ we "fail to bother to love" and become complacent (Moral Wisdom: Rowan and Littelfield Inc. 2010).  In other moments we recognize that we are loving, we are the light, but it is still

Light of the World Collection   Oberammergau, Germany 2006

Light of the World Collection

Oberammergau, Germany 2006

It is in these moments that we hope God's Spirit and light will come and cleanse us, and make us holy and pure again - - we hope God's love will replenish us and renew us --  we turn to the other or the space around us to see God present - - - we search - - - we starve  - - - hoping to be filled.  In other moments, we ask for forgiveness, we offer forgiveness to others, or we even recognize we need to forgive ourselves and "let go and let God." We recognize that before we can adequately love our neighbor, we have to first love ourselves. Yet, there is another hope  - - we hope we, and others will be filled with grace...so that God's Light may be made manifest here on earth.  We seek to be forgiven, we seek to be saved. And then we remember and recognize... we are saved (through our baptism we are cleansed), and / or we are earning our salvation....For Christ was already the perfect sacrifice, most holy and pure, and he was nailed to the cross for our human weakness and imperfection, and in these moments.... we recognize he was and is perfect love. The perfect love that we are to be filled with, so that our love for others is pure, genuine, authentic, whole, and holy....and it is then, in that recognition, that we pray and are able to give praise and thanksgiving to God; Giving God the Glory.

God Light - Let it Shine.jpg

We pray and hope that God's love is made manifest.....that all can see God's love and light in what we do, in what we say, in how we act, in the decisions we make. And in the moments we fail to BE "the Light," we hope that others will forgive us and accept us.  We hope beyond hope that by being "the light" we are loving better, for the goal is to love to our fullest potential, and by doing so to grow more deeply in love.We give praise and thanksgiving to God for the love that has been shown us, and thus for God's love being made manifest in our lives and in the lives of others. We give glory to God for Love and love itself

When I was a mere child, I learned of God's light. . .my mother sang in the church choir, while I went to "sunday school," and I met my favorite Sunday School teacher in Florida: Shirley Fallowell. She was full of God's love and light.  She is the one who taught me the song: "This Little Light of Mine" and I have sung it ever since. In the really dark moments of doubt, in the moments when I need to remember that I am to be filled with God's light, and be a beacon of that light, I sing this song. When others want to stomp out my light, I sing this song. When I am pushed beyond pushed by the extremes of evil, I do not allow myself to be overcome, by singing this song. When I am in awe of God's goodness and feel filled with God's light and love, I sing this song... when I think someone else's spirit needs raising, I sing this song.  I am forever grateful for Shirley and the love that she showed me and my family. She taught me a lot about life in a very short time.

church group to austria.jpg

 Although it was then that I began to understand God's Light, I did not begin to photograph God's Light or learn about "God Light" until the summer of 2006.  It was at this point in my life, that I began to slow down and more deeply notice and photograph God's beauty around me. Shirley (pictured with me in the middle of this photograph), and a Church Group 

and I went to Austria, Switzerland, Germany, and Italy. Yes, I was the youngest on the trip. I was also the only one who just had twin boys the summer before. At the same time, this was also Shirley's first summer alone, as her husband died that spring.  I flew to Florida that spring and attended and sang at the funeral (in the middle of classes and with the boys). I watched her bury her beloved. And while her and Paul bought these tickets to go with their church group on this trip to celebrate their anniversary, before he died, I took his place, and helped her grieve the death of her husband, as her grief counselor. 

Simultaneously, I was opened up to a whole different world. Shirley insisted I slow down with my work, that I was going to kill myself ( - - because I brought books with me on the trip, was enrolled in classes at Binghamton University to take classes focusing on World Poverty and Hunger as well as Social Justice, - - because at this time I was helping her grieve and talk through her feelings about Paul and his death, - - and because other people were pushing me to be what they wanted me to be and they and I were not listening to who God created me to be and wanted me to be).  At the same time, I was just beginning to show Shirley how she could really live again, and start a new chapter in her life, without her husband.  It was this trip, that opened my eyes to "God Light." 

"music box" from Innsbruck Austria

"music box" from Innsbruck Austria

 Shirley showed me I needed to slow down and enjoy the life around me.  While I already enjoyed my children, I felt the need that I had to do everything and be everything in relation to them. Eventually I realized that is not the case. I could not be their Savior. Jesus was and is their Savior. I could be their mother, but I could not do and be everything. I could and did and do love them. I could be a beacon of God's light in their life. I could be "the light" in the life of others, I could bring hope and love to situations of darkness and despair, but that was only through pointing back to Christ, and Christ's love. That was only by bringing glory and praise to God, and I could only bring glory and praise to God by allowing myself to slow down and grow in my relationship with God and Christ - and giving space for the Holy Spirit.

Eventually I stopped doing my work on the trip, I slowed down and allowed myself to enjoy the beauty that was around me, and the company that I was with. Shirley and I were helping each-other through new terrain in our lives and discovering new ways to be. We both grew. While Shirley grieved and learned how to live life without Paul and to walk closely with her faith in God and Christ; I took a breath, and allowed myself to grow in faith.  I deepened my relationship with God and Christ, and my soul was fully renewed and  refreshed with God's love and life.

Light of the World Collection:  Oberammergau, Germany 2006

Light of the World Collection: Oberammergau, Germany 2006

I changed my focus from doing everything for people and feeling like I needed to do everything  and be everything and being their savior -- to being WITH people and pointing out who the real Savior was and is.  I learned to accompany others on their journey - - how to be with others, how to more deeply love others, care for others, and give of myself to others.  Upon my return, I was joyful and happy to be back to share my new experiences, especially with my children.

I was happy to give them back a slice of Austria, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland.  I was happy to bring back pieces of the culture with me to show them, and teach them, and I am still, to this day, happy to have the photographs where God was speaking to me. Upon returning from our trip, I had the photographs that I took copyrighted and named them "Light of the World." To this day, I am still happy to share this collection with my children, and although I have shared selected photographs with very special people in my life - - up until this point - - I have kept them hidden.  It has taken me until this weekend to fully expose others to this collection and begin to open the images up for sale.  I am happy to be able to share them with others now. I hope you find a piece that speaks to you and moves your spirit.  May Peace and Joy fill your life, and God's Love and Light fill all of your relationships, always shine brightly within you and around you.  I will continue to add pieces from the "Light of the World Collection" today, as well as other collections weekly and as I am able.


This Little Light of Mine Song

This little light of mine,

I'm gonna let it shine.

This little light of mine,

Light of the World Collection:  Innsbruck, Austria 2006

Light of the World Collection: Innsbruck, Austria 2006

I'm gonna let it shine.

This little light of mine,

I'm gonna let it shine. 

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.


Hide it under a bushel? (No!) 

I'm gonna let it shine.

Hide it under a bushel? (No!)

I'm gonna let it shine.

Hide it under a bushel? (No!)

I'm gonna let it shine.

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.


Don't let Satan blow it out

I'm gonna let it shine.

Light of the World Collection:  Innsbruck, Austria 2006

Light of the World Collection: Innsbruck, Austria 2006

Don't let Satan blow it out,

I'm gonna let it shine. 

Don't let Satan blow it out,

I'm gonna let it shine.

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.


Ev'ry where I go, 

I'm gonna let it shine.

Ev'ry where I go, 

I'm gonna let it shine.

Ev'ry where I go,

I'm gonna let it shine.

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.


Mary Grenchus