24 May 2022

Shine your light advises Offaly influencer


Ronan Scully of Self Help Africa

If you’ve ever been afraid of the dark, then you know how welcome a ray of light can be. Even a small light makes a big difference in a dark place. Jesus taught those who followed Him that they were “the light of the world.” He said that you don’t light candles and put them under baskets. When you light a candle, you put it on a candlestick so that it gives light to everyone in the room.

He told us, “Let your light shine before people, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (See Matt. 5:14–16.) So in this thought for the week, I want to focus on the subject of light. Every living thing needs light. Plants, animals and people need the light of the sun to stay healthy and continue to grow. In this life, we have two choices.

We can either be part of darkness and be part of this world or shine as lights and be different. We are all called to do good works of kindness, charity and mercy and that is to become a light to those in need around us. It is too easy to just conform to this world. Just go with the flow and simply live a life with less resistance and stay within our comfort zone. We are supposed to be different. We are to be a light to help, support and guide others in need in our world.

Lighthouse of God's Word

All around the world for hundreds of years, sailors have relied on lights to enable them to navigate. Lighthouses have helped them navigate safe passages, find harbours to shelter in, and fix their position when many miles offshore. Such lighthouses have always been strategically placed, frequently on remote rocky headlands, cliff tops or harbour walls. They were always built where sailors would need them most. Lighthouses are like beacons of hope and security, enduring the harshest of weather with great storms crashing against them, yet they stand, flashing their unique sequence of light. They have strong walls and are built with deep foundations on solid rock.

The rock upon which people of faith must build their spiritual house today is God’s word. To survive the storms of life to come, we must, like a lighthouse, be firmly rooted with strong foundations on, and in, God’s word. We must ask the Holy Spirit to open our minds to understand the depths of its meaning.

Only when we are secure ourselves can we shine our light into a lost, confused and rapidly darkening world. We are called to be lights in this world we live in and it is our duty to our fellow human beings, to ensure we are securely founded on the rock of God's word; to enable us to save others at peril on this journey of life. A lighthouse is constant and dependable and helps people just by being there. In the way you live each day, you, too, can be dependable and helpful to others by being there for them. God is good, loving, caring, merciful and forgiving.

He is solid and trustworthy, like a huge, unmovable rock with a lighthouse safely perched upon it. He also calls us to stand tall like a lighthouse, strong, and bright to be unaffected by storms of life. Ask yourself today, "Is someone depending on your light to guide him or her?" If so, then try and be a good example. Be a light to the world and lead and guide those around you in need in the right direction to safety and comfort. They are depending on you as a faithful lighthouse. As the young poet laureate Amanda Gorman said "For there is always light, if only we're brave enough to see it. If only we're brave enough to be it." Be there when someone needs you.

There is no better thing you can do in life than to be there when they are in need. Imagine yourself as the keeper of a lighthouse. They need your bright light as they steer through treacherous waters. The beam from your beacon will guide them safely home. All of us in our own way are dealing with something we rather not speak about. We are imperfect, we are tired, we stumble through our days trying to hold on to the promises we made to ourselves. But on the hard days, I remind myself that I am still here, I am alive and blessed even in the midst of my circumstances, no matter how dark the days are, I can still choose to let the light in. This is our reminder, the light is always with us, in us and around us, choose to let it in today and choose to be a lighthouse to help and care for others in need in our oftentimes dark world!

"Be The Light"

In many different faith traditions as well as in the secular world, many people are encouraged to be light to others or to bring light to others. To be the light means in times of darkness you offer hope, encouragement, kindness, love, mercy, forgiveness and compassion. In times where others are struggling you offer a way to help them to regain their light and to help them shine again. You become as is often said a light in someone else's storm.

You help them see the good and beauty of life again. To “Be the Light” may be to offer hope, or just to sit with someone, and be the presence and guidance they need. It may be offering strength to those that are in a moment’s weakness, or offering a smile, hug and joy to someone in random parts of your day. When I think of being the light, I think of the ways other people have helped my heart to glow again and in some cases even brighter than it has in the past, from a kind word that is said, through encouragement, through a smile or hug that is given or joy that is shared.

Sometimes to “Be the Light” means to carry on the torch for what needs to be completed or be made new. It may mean to give of yourself in a new way to a situation or cause or relationship you are in. It may also mean to just be still and show that nothing really needs to be said at a given time, until the time is right. “To Be the light” is to foster peace and to show others the joy that is present. It also means that you try to protect your flame from being blown out, so that you can be the light, and so that light remains. In all truth, beauty, charity, mercy and goodness, we are the light. In times of trial and struggle it means to illuminate what is wonderful.

This is not always an easy task. Sometimes, we can find it beyond difficult to be the light, but, in these moments, when we focus on what is divine and on the word of God in our prayer lives we are more able to be the light. In concrete reality, being the light may be loving someone despite their weaknesses. It may mean helping people through situations they do not know how to overcome, it could be empowering others to overcome whatever they are facing. It could be holding someone’s hand so they can feel love and know it to be real. Or smiling at the person you are in love with just because you are in love with them and adore them. It could be reaching out to that person you have not talked to in a long time, to let them know you care and that they have value and worth; to let them know they are not forgotten. It may be to radiate joy and celebrate the blessings that are present in life. But we must always remember to nurture the light in our own lives by spending time in prayer and listening to the word of God so that we can be that light to others in need in our world.

Shine Your Light

Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta recounts in one of her books her visit with some of her sisters to an elderly man living alone for a long time as an outcast on the edges of society. This man was living by himself and had no family. When the sisters entered his house, they saw that it was in a terrible mess, filled with dust. This man was tired of living and was simply waiting for death.

The sisters cleaned his house. In the process of cleaning the house, they saw a very old lamp and asked him if they could clean the lamp and light it. The man refused, saying, “For whom am I going to light the lamp; there is no light anymore in my life.” Saint Mother Teresa told him that if he let them clean the lamp and light it, she would make sure that the sisters visited him regularly to share the love of God with him. The man agreed, and they cleaned the lamp and lit it and prayed and had a meal with him. Many years later, Saint Mother Teresa received a letter from this man that simply said, “Dear Mother Teresa, I just want to tell you that the light you lit in my life is still burning.” Whenever I read Corinthians 13: 4-13, I think of this testimony of Saint Mother Teresa, and the ordinary and extraordinary acts of kindness and love that many of us show in our relationships with others. To love is to light the flame of life in another person.

The fire of love that we are called to light in people’s lives is the divine creative energy that gives them new life, new hope, new purpose, and a new inspiration and new courage to believe and to live again.

There are so many people today whose lives are covered by the dust of pain and sorrow; and whose lives are messy like the home of this lonely man that Mother Teresa's sisters visited. Can we be their light? It is our calling as fellow human beings on this journey called life to raise those who have fallen, to wipe away the tears from the eyes of those who are despairing, and to bring the light of Christ in a world that is filled with so many pockets of darkness in the brokenness and wounds of these particular times in which we now find ourselves living in.

Thought for the week

As your thought for the week, we must remember that the most fundamental vocation and purpose of our lives is to love. However, love without sacrifice is empty, and love without pain is vain. Saint Mother Teresa once said that humanity has cured so many incurable diseases, but one disease that afflicts humanity today is that there are many people who feel unwanted and unloved. May each and every one of us become God’s light and hand in the world to touch a wounded soul and heal a broken heart through acts of kindness, love, charity, mercy and forgiveness that flows from a deep place of a prayer life in union with God.

May we remember the immortal words of St. Therese of Lisieux: “My life is for a moment, I am only the breath of God. O, my God teach me that for loving you and loving my neighbor, I have only today for my life is only for a moment.” Let me leave you with a daily prayer recited by Mother Teresa and attributed to St. John Henry Newman, it was said to be among her favorites. "Dear Jesus, help me to spread Thy fragrance everywhere I go. Flood my soul with Thy spirit and love. Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that all my life may only be a radiance of Thine. Shine through me and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel Thy presence in my soul. Let them look up and see no longer me but only Jesus. Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as you shine, so to shine as to be a light to others. Amen." Whatever talents, gifts, and creative ideas you have, there is an unlimited number of ways to let your light shine. So go ahead, be a lighthouse and spread your light for you might be the bright light that others need to see through darkness and find their way home.

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