Why Matter Matters – St. John of Damascus

I do not venerate matter, I venerate the fashioner of matter, who became matter for my sake and accepted to dwell in matter and through matter worked my salvation, and I will not cease from reverencing matter, through which my salvation was worked.

St. John of Damascus


  1. Peace! Thank you for taking me today into this thought by St. John of Damascus concerning “matter”. “Why Matter Matters!?” I’ve perused most of the pointers that led me to “look” into this matter of matter. I did this today after a long absense from INTERRUPTING the SILENCE. Lately, I have been wonering about what is called “dark matter”. So, today, I think that St. John of Damascus does contain some insight into this mystery of “Light enterring the darkness”.
    As Nature enters into the Autumn time of more and more “darkness” there is nothing to fear, for from the darkness of the storm at sea, Jesus says, “Do not fear, it is I” . . . And how many times does He say, “Be not afraid!”
    Enterring more deeply into the Cloud of Unknowing, into this “darkness of Faith” I must look only to Christ Jesus, the Light in my darkest moments.
    Would this darkness of Faith be the “dark matter” that is spoken of lately even and mostly by scientists, they not knowing that in the winds of change and in this accelerating movement that surrounds society, that Christ is the only “point of Light” towards which one is called to “look?”


  2. I am glad you are back. Thank you so much for your insight. Your comment leads me to think about the “dark matter” within me. If St. John is correct, and I think he is, then even my dark places become places though which God enters, heals, and works salvation. God wastes nothing of us or our lives. Everything matters!

    Peace be with you,


  3. Thank you for your response Fr. Mike, for reminding me that there is “dark matter” within me, as well as in everything in Creation/Nature. I guess that in looking at this “dark matter” I was only thinking of the created, visible, even microscopic “dark matter” spoken of in Science by scientists. I realize even more, today, that the “darkness within” spoken of by Jesus, Himself, as “being dark indeed” it the only “dark matter” to be considered in the context of St. John of Damascus’ saying above. If Christ Jesus , does not reach these dark-yet-unknown corners of my heart and soul, as well as those within Creation itself with the Light of His Holy Spirit, there will continue to be chaos, confusion and unrest both within and without, “darkness indeed!”

    So, as far as I can see there are two kinds of “dark matter” that which is part of Creation – as day and night; and that which is made by sin, and some kind of rejection, or un-acceptance of God’s Plan as it unfolds each day. Abandonment to Divine Providence is easy in word, but in deed, is at times quite difficult, especially on the present rough seas of life.

    As I look for God-within-all-matter, as it’s fashioner, I need to constantly look to Jesus Christ the Light of all darkness who is ever Present with the Father and Holy Spirit, indwelling. . .


  4. Thanks so much for your insightful and honest words. The dark matter is real but not the final reality. Your words make me think of Psalm 139:10-13.

    10 If I say, “Surely the darkness will cover me, *
        and the light around me turn to night,”
    11 Darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is as bright as the day; *
         darkness and light to you are both alike.
    12 For you yourself created my inmost parts; *
         you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
    13 I will thank you because I am marvelously made; *
        your works are wonderful, and I know it well.
    (Book of Common Prayer).

    Peace, Mike+


  5. Of course, Father Mike! Psalm 139! thank you so much for the reminder . . . An answer to my grapling with this “dark matter” for a while now.

    I remember a little story that I used to tell to first grader so many years ago:
    “A little black ant, on a black marble, on the darkest night, God sees it!”

    Whatever the hidding place is in my life, it is not hidden! Being led from within by the very Light of God, is the only way in the dark space. From experience, once as I was walking in the middle of the night in the woods going to the little “Cenacle” hermitage of a friend, on a moonless night, the flashlight went out! . . . I felt overwhelmed for a couple minutes, but as my eyes were trying to adjust to this consternating situation, the little mushrooms on the forest floor started to glow; so little by little, step by step, my heart pounding, I walked on not really knowing where I was going, until I felt, somewhat like the night animal that this path was true, until the “cabin” did appear a little darker than the dark, and I was home!

    I think I’ll pray Psalm 139 a little deeper this morning! Thank you!


    1. Those are such great stories and images, thank you. The story about your walk through the woods sounds a lot like the Season of Advent. We let go of the lights around us – the sun, moon, stars that are falling from the sky – so that we might discover and follow a new light, the True Light, that comes from within. This, as you say, “is the only way in the dark space.”

      God’s peace be with you,


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