Take Care Of The Light


Last week I shared with you my excitement and thoughts about the new Spiritual Life Commission theme: BE God’s Light That Shines In The Darkness. With this particular theme, the SLC has extended an open invitation or call to each and everyone of us to BE who we truly are - children of light who are called to shine with the brightness of our Father in heaven.


I shared the theme that our SLC settled on for our parish with a friend, and the rationale for picking such an inviting and motivating theme. In response, he shared with me a video which told the story of a lady who, when she was in her early teens, used to clean homes. According to the story, the young girl was in the company of older ladies who were also cleaners at a bus stop where all of them picked a bus to work. One of the older ladies, upon learning that the young girl was also a cleaner, sought to share her experience with her. She admonished her to "Always take care of the light."


She went on: "There’s always a light in most homes that stays unclean, especially the chandeliers that hung high up. It takes more than a little effort to clean those lights. Take your solution and climb up, clean each crystal, clean each bulb. Make sure you take care of the light. If you take care of the light, everything shines.”

The young girl did what the older lady told her, and when the owners of the house saw the light shine ever so brightly, they were so impressed with her work that they gave her a tip for taking care of the light. "If you take care of the light, everything shines."


When I was in Philadelphia, a very popular parishioner passed away. He was young, in his mid-fifties. I had never met this parishioner, nor did I know about him, but he was one person that was popular around Chestnut Hill, in the Philadelphia social circles, and along the beaches of South Jersey. If I am not lying, there were about one thousand people at his memorial at St. Paul’s Church, Chestnut Hill. The sheer size of that crowd was unbelievable.


It was at his memorial that one of his two daughters told a story about him. According to her, when they were little girls their dad always made sure, even when he is out of town, that he will sing to them the popular children gospel song “This little light of mine” which was written by Harry Dixon Loes.


This Little Light Of Mine,

I'm gonna let it shine,

This Little Light Of Mine,

I'm gonna let it shine,

This Little Light Of Mine,

Yes, I'm gonna let it shine,

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine

The daughter who told this wonderful story about her dad did not share the reason why her father always made sure he sung this gospel song to them before they retired to bed. However, one thing that stuck with her was that she always had to let her light shine, she had to take care of her little light. That light was her hope - even as a little girl - and that hope has been with her and will continue to be with her. I believe that a child without hope is like a dark blue sky that's without stars, and as children - yes, you and I are children, children of God and joint heirs with Christ - it is our responsibility to take care of our little light, and to make our little light shine ever so brightly. For if you take care of the light, everything shines.


As children of the light, there’s a light in each of us; that light needs to be loved, needs to be nurtured, needs to be mentored, needs to be cared for, needs to shine brightly, and that light needs to hear music of welcome embrace and affirmation. That light within us needs to hear songs of thanksgiving, redemption, and praise. That light needs to hear echoes of reconciliation and human solidarity in the face of tragedy, loss and upheavals. That light needs to feed on the constant source of God’s wisdom. The light that's in each one of us needs to shine ever brightly. Remember Jesus' words "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." That light can and will always shine ever brightly when you take care of it. Always take care of the light. As the older lady said, "...for if you take care of the light, everything shines."


What is it about your light that others want to see shine? What is it about your light that hasn’t been shining lately because it is covered by dust and cobwebs? I have no doubt in my mind that others want to see your light shine, for when you do, you empower others to let their light shine as well.


Take care of the light. However little that light may be, take care of it, for it is only by taking care of it that it can shine.


May you shine like the light that is in you.


~Manny

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