This post is part of our Easter series on the Seven Joys of Mary. “You are the light of the world,” Jesus tells His disciples in Matthew 5:14. In meditating on this passage, Tammi reflects on how we are called to bear the light of Christ in the ordinary moments of our everyday lives.
“You are the light of the world. This light is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Heavenly Father.”Matthew 5: 14-16
A call to joy.
A call has been placed upon my heart and yours.
It is not easy, but it is simple.
God desires that we ignite the joy within each other so that it may illuminate the world around us.
We can all see the powers of darkness that seek to devour the poorest of souls.
God’s plan involves you and I, His hands and feet in this world.
In the most practical sense, what is God asking of us?
He is asking us to be willing to be put on a lampstand.
He is asking us to shine His light to others.
This is not a grandiose gesture. He is not asking us to be grand, or to take on some big feat. He is not asking us to lead a movement, or quit our jobs to run missions. Although, for some, that may be in His plans.
He is actually asking us, in our own areas of our life, to allow our littleness to showcase His greatness.
He is asking us to be willing to show up to these anointed appointments that He gives us throughout our day, bringing with us our joy and love for Him.
He is asking us to be present in every moment of our day so that He can use us for His Glory, that others can see His work within us.
The world can try and fill the day with noise and scoff at the silence God tries to draw us into, but His light can not be quenched. It burns bright within each one of us who proclaim Him as Lord of our lives and seek to reintroduce this darkened world to its Maker.
People will be drawn to our light. They will see Him within us, and our joy will be contagious.
It is in the everyday tasks and circumstances in which we live that we will make the biggest impact. It is in our willingness to really see, with new vision, the areas where our light can bring joy and hope to others.
It is our “yes” to being drawn into the present moment with a love for Him and a desire to serve.
A smile for the Starbucks worker who has just had a difficult customer.
A kind word for a tired mom about how beautiful her baby is.
Simply being present to those who we love, regardless of the fatigue and anxiety that is trying to distract us.
It is the desire to die to our own vices and live a life of love and joy that will draw souls to His Most Sacred Heart.
Last night, our family was waiting excitedly for our turn in line at a local ice cream shop. We were discussing all the toppings of our sundaes when our chatter was interrupted by a gentlemen in front of us. When he stepped up to order his ice cream, the criticism started right away. He used words like “disappointment” and “terrible service,” and I watched the joy fade from the young girl who served him. Minutes before I had just been reflecting on how joyfully these teenage girls were serving ice cream to their customers.
His words were meant, whether intentional or not, to snuff out their joy. I felt the Holy Spirit whisper into my heart… restore their joy.
I walked up to the encounter and started with, “Thank you for being here. Thanks for working today. I appreciate you.” I watched as that smile returned, and five minutes later when the power went out with multiple customers in line, she said, “I’m so sorry everyone. We are going to take this family’s order and then have to close.” I leaned forward and reassured her. “There is nothing you can do. You guys are doing great.” Our $20 tip additionally blessed them for all their efforts.
As I got in my car, I turned to my husband and said “We were supposed to be here tonight. Those teenagers were not supposed to end their night with that customer and losing power. I believe God sent us there to change the outcome of tonight.”
While we might struggle with how bright our light is, or maybe question whether we are a light at all, God’s word is true. There are people in your life who will use those words to describe you. There are people, in your life, who are inspired by what you do in the hidden parts of your home, in your cubicle at a job, or in the quiet of your prayer time.
Sitting on that lampstand, we are also light bearers. We carry the light of Christ within us. We will encounter those whose light may be dimming, who become ignited by our brightness and inspired to burn brighter.
God will place people in your life who will be a light bearer to you. It is then your responsibility to ignite the light within someone else. You must carry that joy within you and be willing to give it freely to bless others.
Every year, our family attends a Catholic music festival put on at a local abbey here in Pennsylvania. It is held on a Saturday in the fall, and one of my favorite moments of the night is after Mass, when we are about to have Eucharistic Adoration led by Catholic musician Matt Maher. Candles are given out to the nearly 5,000 attendees by volunteers. It starts with a few candles being lit throughout the crowd, and within a few minutes, the crowd is ablaze… and the journey of the Blessed Sacrament to the altar begins with the priest in procession.
That simple act of turning to the person next to you and lighting their candle creates this beautiful environment in which to adore the Lord.
How we too must be like those candle wicks, willing to turn to each person God places in our lives, and set them ablaze.
St. Catherine of Siena, one of the great Doctors of the Church, has been quoted to say, “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”
Our fiat, our willingness to live the life that God has for us, filled with simple submission to His plan and loving and acceptance of His will, is an inspiration for many.
We can see this faithfully in the life of Our Lady. When Our Lady goes to visit Elizabeth, Elizabeth is quoted as saying:
“Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”Luke 1:45
Mary believed that the Lord’s words to her would be fulfilled, despite her inability to understand, in her lowliness, why God would choose her.
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. For He has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.”Luke 1:46-48
She accepted her role as the ultimate light bearer; willing to bear the Light of the World, Christ himself.
She carried Christ within her, bringing His presence into her everyday encounters with others.
She was the ultimate adoration chapel.
Where is Christ asking you to shine your light a little brighter? Pray for eyes to see where, in moments of your everyday life, you can bring His light to others around you.