This Lent, I have been fortunate to walk spiritually with a young man who recently regained his faith. The world looks so different to him than it did before. He was raised a Catholic in a loving home but found transitioning from a boy into a man harder than he thought it would be. In the process of finding his new identity in the world, he lost himself. He fell in love, but that love turned cold when they lost two children. After his divorce instead of grieving the losses in his life, he turned to drugs and alcohol. His addiction brought with it more losses, and he found himself quickly spiraling out of control.
The funny thing about spirals is they almost always lead down, into smaller refined quarters, and darkness. Feeling isolated and alone he had to confront himself and his issues. That is the interesting thing about running away from ourselves and our problems, everywhere we go, we are there? Eventually, we will have to face OURSELVES! And that will mean making some changes which, most of us find hard and try to avoid. Spiraling forces us to cocoon, transform, and emerge anew like a butterfly or die.
My new friend found himself in this predicament. He fell to the bottom and laid flat on his back with no one there, but himself and darkness. For a period, he had a pity party then just as he was losing hope by the weight of darkness enveloping him, he looked up and saw a light.
Isn’t it amazing what a little light can do? I know a nightlight brings comfort to my granddaughter, and the sunshine makes me incredibly happy and when I lose hope the light of Christ gives me peace, as it did my friend. Jesus in John 8:12 said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Seeing this light of Christ warmed my friends soul filling him with passionate love. It also gave him the strength to get up and check himself into rehab and completely change his life.
God is now pouring out His love on him in incredible ways, so incredible, he feels overwhelmed and undeserving at times. I tell him to soak it all up as much as possible because he will need to tap into that love when he is struggling during difficult times. He and God are now in the honeymoon phase where God is wooing him and every day is exciting, happy, and new. I share his story with you because it shows God’s endless mercy and love to each of us. We are baptized into the light of Christ that is why we light a candle during baptism. We are called to evangelize Christ’s light through the everyday living of our lives bringing hope to those in darkness.
Lent is a perfect time to remember that light within and let it shine in those dark corners of our lives that we need to clean. We clean interiorly as Catholic’s by going to confession, fasting, and helping others. We clean to make room for air to flow through with oxygen to fan the flame to glow brighter. Science has determined that the human eye can see a candle flame up to 30 miles away. Imagine what the light of Christ can do when exuding from the Christian soul.