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Let Your Light Shine: Family Reflection Video

Let Your Light Shine: Family Reflection Video

Holy lives of inspiration

A little girl was visiting a beautiful cathedral with her aunt. It was late afternoon, and the sun’s rays were streaming through a stained-glass window that featured the figures of several saints. The little girl pointed to one of the figures standing out in the warm, orange glow of the strong sunlight and asked, “Who is that?” “That’s Saint Peter,” the aunt replied.

Then pointing to one another, the girl asked who that one was. “That’s Saint John,” was the reply. When she pointed to another, she was told, “That’s Saint James.”

Then, with a sigh of understanding and satisfaction, the little girl said, “Well, now I know what a saint is. A saint is somebody the light shines through.”

Today we are remembering one impressive saint who radiated the light of Christ. A couple of years ago, I was lucky enough to visit his Sanctuary in Cartagena, Columbia on the Atlantic coast.

Saint Peter Claver was born in Spain in 1580. He became a Jesuit and volunteered to go to South America as a missionary. For 40 years, he ministered to black slaves in what is now Colombia. Colombia was a huge human-trafficking market for [the] slave trade. On the journey to America, one-third of the future slaves died of disease, dehydration, and maltreatment. Whenever a ship arrived, Peter would take medicine, food, and clothing to it. He nursed the slaves in the warehouses who were awaiting their sale and taught them about God as he poured healing balm on their wounded bodies and souls. He baptized nearly 300,000 blacks. On the day of his solemn profession, he signed himself “slave of the slaves forever!” After being sick from the epidemic and worn out from his work, Peter was bedridden for four years before he died. (Mary Kathleen Glavich, SND, Weekday Liturgies for Children 1999. P.163)

In today’s first reading we hear St. Paul telling us, “I became a slave to all so as to win over as many as possible.” And the gospel reminds us that the blind person cannot lead the blind. We need the light of Christ to shine through us. Like athletes in a competition, let us not be distracted from our goal of winning as many as possible by sharing the love and light of Christ every day.

In the United States and elsewhere today, Knights of Saint Peter Claver welcome African American men and their families to continue the mission of Saint Peter Claver to the needy and poor. St. Peter Claver said, “Seek God in all things, and you shall find God by your side.” Like St. Peter Claver, Jesus invites us to seek God in all things, and as the little girl said, we may be just like the saints and radiate the light of Christ shining through us to others.

How do we do that? By seeking to find God in simple acts of compassion: patiently listening to a troubled friend or neighbor, visiting a sick colleague in hospital, comforting a family in mourning at a wake service or funeral Mass.

When you let your light shine, make sure it radiates the warm, loving light of Christ. Amen.

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About Father Pinto Paul, C.S.C.

Father Pinto Paul C.S.C., ordained a priest in the Congregation of Holy Cross in 1999, worked with tribal populations in northeast India as a missionary for ten years. In 2010 he came to the US for further studies. While working as a campus minister at Stonehill College, he assisted pastors in local parishes, led seminars and workshops for teachers and students in the US and earned a master’s degree in Educational Administration from Boston College and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Lesley University, Cambridge. He is currently working as the International Director of the Boston-based Holy Cross Family Ministries with missions in 17 countries.