Pope Francis is restoring to us a sense of Church in the midst of the world, a Church for the sake of the world. This is what I mean. Pope Francis has said we are privileged to carry out a mission of being a leaven of hope in a world wounded by sin and evil. It is hard enough for us to have hope, but he asks us to do more, to be hope for others who are suffering from evil and despair.
The Pope said we are called to be "so many points of light," illuminating "all of reality" and "showing the way to a better future" for everyone. How can I be a light that shows a way to others?
First of all, I'd need to be able to walk the way first, so I'd know where I was leading others or at least to what I was pointing.
Second, I'd want to live in a way that is distinct from the darkness around me, so I would "show up" in the midst of the crowd as someone different, someone transparent, someone filled with joy and thus attractive.
How can I walk this path and truly shine brightly before others who are looking for the light? By knowing where I'm going... "Our destination is the Kingdom of God which Christ inaugurated on earth and which will attain its fullness in the joy of heaven." The directions to the Kingdom of God are found in the reading of the Gospel, in the prayerful celebration of the Sacraments and in service to the poor. Day by day, prayer by prayer, resolution by resolution, we strengthen our resolve to live the Kingdom, to BE the Kingdom, as light in the darkness.
This is what makes the Church an essential part of God's loving plan for the whole human family. We are called FOR THE OTHERS. We are loved by God FOR THE OTHERS. We are sanctified FOR THE WORLD which depends on us and on our response to grace.
"May the Church always be a place where everyone can encounter God's mercy and feel welcomed, loved, forgiven, and encouraged to live the good life of the Gospel.”
Titles that will help you be light in the world today:
Man to Man, Dad to Dad. Edited by Brian Caulfield. This is a book any dad, busy schedule and all, would actually read. In these pages are the answers to questions he has on his mind. A great feature of Man to Man, Dad to Dad is the variety of Catholic men who have authored the book’s fourteen chapters, shedding light from their own rich experience, prayer, and reflection on marriage and fatherhood. You are sure to find clear answers here.
Catholic Family Fun: A Guide for the Adventurous, Overwhelmed, Creative or Clueless. By Sarah Reinhard. Here’s a fun way of bringing your family closer together and helping you become a “point of light” so needed by today’s society. Find storytelling, craft projects, vacation ideas, silly things, and praying together among the activities your family will enjoy. This book makes creating fun times easy even for busy moms (and which mom isn’t?) and moms who struggle with hands-on crafts and activities.
St. Monica, Power of a Mother’s Love. By Giovanni Falbo. Want the best for your children? This story considers a mother’s love and persevering prayer that brought her son to the heart of God. Parents with hopes and dreams for their children to practice the faith will discover in this true story the light of God’s grace at work in their own life.
Journey of Our Love: The Letters of Saint Gianna Beretta and Pietro Molla. By Elio Guerriero. Gianna was a mother, physician, athlete, who was passionately in love with her husband…. Is there much more to be had? Gianna Molla made a choice that was rooted in a lifetime of self-less love for others and particularly for her family. Her courageous decision was to choose the life of her child at the risk of losing her own. Today she speaks to women in any walk of life, marking the way to holiness.
by Sr. Kathryn J. Hermes, FSP
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