All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle. –St. Francis of Assisi
Lately I’ve had to go on a media fast (again)–the darkness out in the world just seems too oppressive at this moment, and the evil on every front seems poised to swallow us all up. But–now is when I need to remember the above quote from St. Francis! Not matter how dark it seems, God is still at work and giving light to the world. Hopefully through each of us. Wherever you are, whoever you are, you are being called by God to love Him and serve Him. In this dark world, we are each candles that God has placed to give off His light.
How can you approach nearer to God so as to give off more of this Light? These are ideas that have occurred to me:
- Increase your reception of the Sacraments. Making at least a monthly, but especially a weekly Confession, will boost your spiritual strength. We receive graces to help us resist temptations and to persevere by making good, frequent Confessions. Receiving Holy Communion (in the State of Grace, of course!) frequently and reverently will be like a spiritual vitamin to help you on your way.
- Attend and support a reverent Mass. Your faith and your understanding of God’s Great Gift will deepen if you find a worthy and reverent weekly Mass. This is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your family. Search online today for a list of churches in your diocese, and find a parish that approaches God with beauty, sacredness, and reverence.
- Add something new and beautiful to your prayer routine. If you don’t pray a daily Rosary, begin today. This is the Catholic prayer, other than the Mass and Divine Office, and every Catholic ought to stay close to Our Blessed Mother and her Son this way. If you already pray the Rosary, add the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Perhaps you have enough time in the morning or evening to pray one of the hours of the Divine Office (or from a Little Office), Lauds or Compline, for example. Even something as simple as adding a Memorare prayer to the beginning of your day will help you better live for God.
- Brainstorm simple ways to perform works of mercy during the week. Adding the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy together, we can see 14 ways to show God’s Mercy to others. Based on your vocation and station in life, what three things can you do this week to serve God and His beloved children?
- Plan to begin a new volume of spiritual reading tonight before you go to bed. The Ven. Fulton Sheen believed that we all ought to be reading and meditating on Thomas a Kempis’ Imitation of Christ. I plan to begin reading that soon. Do you have any volumes of Scripture study (Dr. Scott Hahn’s works are marvelous!), Catholic living, theology/philosophy, or Church history on your shelves? Pull one of these out and set it by your bed to pray and read with for ten minutes before you go to sleep tonight.
Start these new habits now, today! The days come and go, and we grow older, ever closer to that day when we will meet our Creator face to face. None of the darkness of this present world will concern us then, because it will all be over for us. But we will be judged according to the light that we shared while we were alive. With that in mind, may these ideas inspire you to grow closer to the Good Lord and to be a bright light for Him in this world.