Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness. Luke 11:34
On Friday, I took my kids to see the light that was installed at the Prayer Path on the grounds of our church. It was one of those deep, dark nights with no moon shining through the clouds. It made the light that’s focused solely on the cross even brighter.
Despite it being in the middle of the woods, the illuminated cross seemed to cast a miraculous glow. Jocelyn, who’s only seven, and afraid of the dark, said, “It’s so beautiful! I’d even sleep there all night, at the foot of that cross, because it feels like God’s really there.”
Her words kept echoing in my head, drawing me to see the deeper meaning.
When God gave us free will, it’s as if He handed each one of us a flashlight and said, “Where you direct this light, that’s what you’ll see. I trust you to use it well.” Then He promised not to interfere, allowing us to cast our light on whatever we want. What an absolute honor to get to decide what gets illuminated in our lives!
However, with any honor comes responsibility. If we don’t use discernment on where we shine our flashlights, we may, inadvertently, cast a glow onto things that aren’t life giving.
When we focus more on our failures than on our successes, more on the bad in the world than on the good, more on fear and judgement than on peace and joy, we’re abusing and misusing this wonderful gift. When we recognize this, we need to grab hold of our flashlights and redirect their beams, finding and lighting up the good instead.
There’s ALWAYS positive and inspiring things to focus on, no matter how deep and dark the night may seem. No matter how many mistakes we’ve made, we’ve also done some things right too. We need to search them out and shine the light on them. Despite the tragedies featured on the evening news, people are doing good all around us. We need to search them out and shine the light on them. No matter what difficult situation we’re going through, there are still things that can bring us peace and joy. We need to search them out and shine the light on them.
That light at the Prayer Path could have been directed at anything: the stones outlining the walking path, the reflection benches along the perimeter, or the beautiful gardens that surround the area. But none of those things are the purpose; they’re just the means. The cross is the true focal point of the space because, like Jocelyn said, that’s where God is.
All the things in our lives that bring us down, trap us, and keep us stagnant, aren’t meant to be illuminated. They may be part of our journey, but they’re not our destination.
Instead, we should leave the pain they caused in the dark, only pointing our light on the good that comes from them: the lessons they’ve taught us, and the ways they’ve made us grow. When we search out that good, and shine a light on it, then we feel God. Because that’s where He is: in the good, in the light, beckoning us to join Him there.
Questions For Reflection:
* Do I realize God gave me the free will to focus on anything I want?
* Do I tend to focus my light on the positive? Or on the negative?
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Claire, when I think I’ve read my favorite post from you, you write another that becomes my favorite!! This should be a homily at Sunday Masses! So much of what we hear focuses on all the bad in the world. This puts a whole new “light” on things and really lifts the gloom!
Thank you for this! xoxo
Great play on words there, Mom! Thanks so much for ALWAYS reading, ALWAYS commenting, and ALWAYS being such a bright light for me!!! I love you!
The Prayer Path looks so beautiful with the cross illuminated in the middle. What a radiant place to go…….even at night!
Thanks so much for helping to build it, Alese! Your help was invaluable!