What are the deeply impactful moments of clarity in your life? You know, those experiences when something set itself upon your soul and you knew it would shape your values and world view in a profound way for the rest of your life. Maybe it was an experience, a story, something incredibly good and fortunate, or maybe it was something you wished would never happen but it did. In those moments a lesson is taught with such clarity that it leaves a mark on your soul and becomes a part of who you are and who you will be.
Last night’s sermon at church was one of those moments for me. A striking lesson that will be with me for the rest of my life and will shape future actions. I am sure I will not always live into it as I should, but the spirit of this lesson will be there with me as I make decisions and take actions in my life.
Fr Dodge started talking about saints as November 1st is All Saints Day. He shared a story to hep us understand what a saint really is and helped us see that it is not something unattainable for all of us. If you’d like to watch and hear it yourself instead of reading my ramblings you can check it out here ( https://youtu.be/nWxg8anthpI?t=1316 ) and it will go right to exact moment for you. Even if you are not Christian or Catholic I can almost guarantee you’ll appreciate this three minute story as well.
The story is this. Each time a mother takes her son to church she points to the stained glass windows and spends time explaining who the different saints are in hopes he remembers them as he grows older. Once the young child has grown a bit and goes to Sunday school their teacher asks the question, “what is a saint?” His response? “Saints are those who let The Light shine through them.”
“Saints are those who let The Light shine through them.” What a profound thought!
To be clear, being a saint isn’t something on my dream list or a goal written somewhere. What this thought helps me see is a very clear way of viewing my actions, emotions, and intentions. It provides a two part thought process to help me. Am I focused on receiving the light and am I letting it shine through?
When I think of the phrase there must be light in order to allow it to shine through. Am I acting with kindness? Am I acting with positivity? Am I acting with gratitude? Am I acting with an open mind? Am I acting with inclusivity? Am I acting with peace? Am I acting with joy? Am I acting with the right intentions? Am I acting with love? In short, am I acting with the ideals The Big Dude Upstairs would want me to act with? Am I acting as Jesus would? If the answer is yes The Light is there and shining brightly.
Am I letting The Light shine through? There are times when it is so easy to keep things inside and not share them outwardly. Sometimes the light might be there but I cover it with a heavy blanket or I close the curtains around it. When someone is overly negative, closed minded, taking poor actions, or acting with anger am I hiding the light or am I courageous enough to let the light shine through? This can be a very tough one! How many times have I allowed the darkness to cause me to act with darkness or to withhold the light at the very moment in which its presence was needed more than ever? Did I have the courage to let the light shine through even if I was nervous, uncomfortable, or scared? The Light was meant to be shared, am I selfishly keeping it to myself or selflessly letting it shine?
Those two key questions will resonate in my brain for the rest of my life. As I started with, I am positive I will fail sometimes, but this knowledge will help me act with grace more than I would have without it.
There’s also a very interesting note that Father Dodge added at the end of the sermon. Allowing The Light to shine through us may cause us to feel worse in some cases. Think of the windows in a house. When the light hits them you can quickly see the smudges that need to be cleaned. As we would allow The Light to shine through us it is important to remember we will see more of our own mistakes. Those are opportunities for growth, not a reason to stop letting the light in. We can take the time to clean those smudges and allow The Light to shine through even more clearly.
Have a wonderful rest of your day, I hope we all allow The Light to shine through us today!