Bringing Light to Men and Women in Every Place

candle flameWe all know evil exists.  But we also know it’s not some far off truth that doesn’t touch our lives.  We’ve seen it in people we don’t know and people we don’t want to know.  We’ve seen it in people we work with and go to school with and live near.  We’ve seen it in people we love and people we like.  Worst of all: we’ve seen how evil works inside of ourselves.  It creeps in through a small crack: a tiny sin, a little bit of disappointment, a moment of fatigue, a twinge of fear.  It seeps in.  It hides.  It hopes we don’t let in the light and the warmth.

But that’s precisely what we have to do to defeat evil.  We have to let in the light.  We have to let in the warmth.  Then we have to share that light and the warmth.  In number 37 of chapter three (nos. 37-49) in his encyclical Lumen Fidei Pope Francis explains it this way:

Those who have opened their hearts to God’s love, heard his voice and received his light, cannot keep this gift to themselves. Since faith is hearing and seeing, it is also handed on as word and light. […] The word, once accepted, becomes a response, a confession of faith, which spreads to others and invites them to believe […] It is a light reflected from one face to another.

Expanding on the theme that the transmission of the faith “brings light to men and women in every place” (no. 38), the Pope illustrates the power and reach of faith itself:

(1)  Faith makes it possible to share in Christ and reflect His light to others.

(2)  Faith is passed on by contact from one person to another.

(3)  Faith travels through time.

(4)  Faith can reach every place.

(5)  Faith plants a seed capable of filling the world with its fruit.

Still, faith has to be nurtured.  It cannot simply grow strong and stay healthy on its own.  It needs a home where it can be understood, communicated with, and witnessed to.  It needs a home where it can engage “the entire person, body and spirit, interior life and relationships with others” (Lumen Fidei #40).  The Church, of course, is this home; the sacraments are its sustenance, prayer is its language, and catechesis is its sure-footed guide.  That is why it is so vitally important to know and to live:

(1)  the creed,

(2)  the sacraments,

(3)  the ten commandments, and

(4)  prayer.

By engaging the faith in this way, we draw upon “the storehouse of memory which the Church hands down” (Lumen Fidei #46).  And by “professing the same faith, we stand firm on the same rock, we are transformed by the same Spirit of love, we radiate one light and we have a single insight into reality” (Lumen Fidei #47).

So, during this Year of Faith ask yourself this: do I recognize evil?  Do I see the light of Christ and live in His warmth?  Do I work to bring the light of Christ into my own life?  Am I attempting to bring Christ into every place I go?

Let us pray for one another that we may live our lives illumined by faith.

Thomas Colyandro is a professor for Catholic Distance University and the author of two books, including: The Judas Syndrome: Seven Ancient Heresies Return to Betray Christ Anew. He is completing a certificate from the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies at Cambridge University, and already holds masters’ degrees in divinity and theology from the University of St. Thomas School of Theology at St. Mary’s Seminary in Houston, Texas, a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin, and a certificate from the Harvard-MIT Public Disputes Program.