January 28, 2012

Light in the Darkness

          Last weekend nearly twenty of our sisters came together in our nation’s capital from Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Wisconsin, Ohio, New Jersey, and Washington D.C.  We were able to gather for lunch at the Nunciature and meet the new Nuncio, Archbishop Viganò on Sunday. The following day, a group of us had the opportunity to attend the Youth Rally and Mass at the Verizon Center in which nearly 20,000 youth attended.  Prior to the beginning of Mass there was such a powerful energy and love that filled the arena.  During this time, witnesses were given in which the youth were challenged to extend their zeal for upholding the dignity of life.  They were challenged to do this not only by “saving the babies” but by also refraining from gossip, reaching out and showing love to those who have no one, and by witnessing to the truth of our faith in their relationships. 

Following the witnesses, there was a time of praise and worship, in which I was particularly struck by one of the songs called Hosanna by Hillsong.  The words moved my heart to tears of joy and hope as I looked around the Verizon Center and saw nearly 20,000 youth praising the Lord.  The words were as follows:

“I see a generation 
Rising up to take their place
With selfless faith
With selfless faith
I see a near revival
Stirring as we pray and seek
We're on our knees
We're on our knees”
            This is the new generation of the Church and the youth are rising to take their place as witnesses of the truth of our faith.   We need to continue to pray for the youth, the future of the Church, that they may have the strength to take their place as leaders in the Church and the world.    The youth of our Church have a true fervor, joy, and love for the Church.  It was overwhelmingly evident as the Holy Mass began and Cardinal Wuerl, the main celebrant, introduced the bishops and the dioceses in which the bishops serve and the youth stood up and cheered for their bishops.  In conclusion to this, Cardinal Wuerl introduced the Nuncio Archbishop Viganò, the papal ambassador to the United States, who read a letter from the Holy Father.  The Holy Father encouraged the youth to continue their efforts and offer both prayers and sacrifices to end abortion.  The Pope also repeated his words spoken at the Prayer Vigil on August 20, 2011 for World Youth Day in Madrid:  “The Lord has allowed you to live in this moment of history so that, by your faith, his name will continue to resound throughout the world.”  During the homily, the youth were reminded of their beauty and that they are made in the image and likeness of God.   They were then urged to witness to the truth of God’s love for each human person by living chastely, charitably, courageously, and consistently in the faith.  As Mass concluded, we all went out ready to proclaim the light of Christ by marching through the streets of Washington, D.C holding signs, chanting, and praying in order to witness to the value of life.  The streets were packed with people from all over the country who believe in the importance of saving lives and will not be silenced.  
                So now how are you living out your faith this day?  Do you believe that you are beautiful and made in the image and likeness of God?  Do you believe that others are as well?  Are you listening to our Holy Father and living out your faith in a manner in which Jesus’ name is being proclaimed throughout the world?  Are you offering prayers and sacrifices for the needs of the Church?  Are you showing support to the deacons, priests, and bishops of your diocese and remembering them in your prayers?  Are you supporting the future of the Church by being a living witness of the joys and the truths of our faith in encounters with the youth?  Are you proclaiming hope and bringing the light of Christ to the hearts of those who live in doubt, darkness, and despair?  Are you listening to the Lord speaking to your heart and responding in courageous and selfless faith?  Are you living a life of chaste, pure, and generous love?  Are you constant in the faith holding strong to the values of virtue even in the midst of persecution?  If not, maybe it’s time to start or maybe it’s time to begin again.  Take time this day to thank God for the gift of your life and let Him show you how He is asking you to proclaim the faith in your life. 
                Even if you feel discouraged that there has not been a lot of visible fruit in your efforts to proclaim the faith, persevere in your efforts and continue to pray and take solace in the truth of John’s Gospel:  “All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”  John 1: 3-5   Let us pray that we may all be illuminated with Christ’s light and that it shines brightly in our daily lives so that others are brought into the light of truth. 

-written by Sister M. Dolorosa, FSGM

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