Be the Light!
I was at St. Mary’s High School this morning. I always enjoy being with the students and wish I could spend more time there. In my many conversations, I was struck by the struggles of many of our young people. For some reason, I just don’t remember feeling as overwhelmed with the pressures of the world when I was in high school and college as many of the students with whom I work seem to be.
In my daily work in campus ministry, I am continually affected by many of our young people who seem to doubt their value to the world around them. It makes me sad and angry that our world can be so callous as to make others question their self-worth, their human dignity, and their inestimable value to God.
But there is great hope found in the simple message of the campus ministry class at St. Mary’s High School. The campus ministers have shirts that say: “Be the Light.” Yes! We must be the light for others. We must remind one another that they are loved by God and loved by us.
Sounds easy, right? Maybe not so much when we consider that to be light to others requires us to step outside of ourselves. It requires us to make the time and to reach out. It requires us to put down our smart phone and admit the, at times, painful reality that we are not the most important people in the world.
I have always liked stories of Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen. At the height of his fame, he was in very high demand, and his schedule most days was completely filled up. His nephew is fond of telling the story, however, that no matter how busy the Archbishop was, he always made time for the people God put before him. In one particular anecdote, his nephew tells of the time the Archbishop was stopped by a homeless person on the way to a radio interview. The Archbishop knew he would be late, but it didn’t stop him from taking the time to talk with the person, realizing that the image and likeness of God was present right in front of him.
If we really want to be the light, we have to make the time, and there’s no better time than the holiday season. It’s exciting and joy-filled for many. For some, it’s lonely and depressing. There’s no better time to reach out to those who are mourning, those who are isolated, or those who are struggling with their relationship with God.
If we can’t find the time in the coming weeks to let people know how much we love them, and how much God loves them, then we can’t expect the darkness of the world around us to dispel. Make the time. Be the light.