Take up your torch

Life can be quite demanding at times, it may often seem that we don’t have time for ourselves. Yet with all the busyness in our lives, we somehow are given what we need. I often joke that I don’t have a life, that I am so busy at times, and that I don’t know if I am coming or going. But yet in all the madness that sometimes is my life, there is a joy, an underlying happiness and true feeling of being blessed. As crazy and demanding as my life seems at times, I know I am doing what God needs me to do. I am where I need to be, and there is a comfort in knowing that I am not just spinning my wheels, but actually touching others through God’s touching me. 

We are all asked to be God’s instruments here on earth, His means of bringing love and light into otherwise dark corners of this vast world. He fully understands what we are capable of, what gifts we possess and how we can best help our fellow man. But alas, God can only begin His work through us after we have said yes! Over the years I have had many experiences with God’s inviting me, encouraging me and nudging me forward into unchartered territory, willing me to do His bidding; to bring a glimpse of His mercy and love to those in need. 

There have been days of resistance, of uncertainty and of unwillingness. Days when I feel as if too much is being asked of me, and still others where I am not sure where to even begin. Yet somehow it all seems to work out, and trusting fully, gives me the strength and courage to persevere.

We have been listening to readings from the Acts of the Apostles at Sunday Mass, and I can think of no better example than the Apostles themselves. They watched the Man they believed in and trusted, a Man Whom they had come to know and love, die on the cross. Jesus had given them a mission, and they firmly believed that He would be with them to see it through. They were afraid, they did not feel ready, and they knew that if they even begun the work they had promised to do, they may not live to see tomorrow. Their reluctance was well-grounded; they after all had witnessed what had been done to Jesus because of His beliefs and teachings. But yet these men and women stayed together, formed a family, a bond and even though they did not know what tomorrow would bring, waited and eventually with the Holy Spirit, gained the courage and strength they needed to begin the mission. 

For most of us, the only persecution we may experience is the jesting of family and friends, questioning why we are so involved, or why we put our faith first. Asking us pointed questions about our beliefs and those of the Church, wondering why we stay firm in the midst of all the turmoil. Still others suffer injustice and cruelty for their beliefs and yet continue to do the work of God regardless of the price they are asked to pay. 

So why is it so difficult for us to give of ourselves, why do we find excuse after excuse to put off what we are being asked. It is our own fear and doubt — will anyone even listen, and are we truly worthy, can we really get the job done? There answers lie within our own hearts and the task at hand is not as impossible as we fear, we are simply asked to be witnesses, to live our lives in accordance to Jesus’ teachings, to be there for others, to find joy in even the simplest of things, and to know that we are loved beyond measure. 

To truly be an instrument of God requires us to get to know Him fully, to understand His mercy and love, and to live our lives as Easter people, knowing that Jesus has opened the doors wide for us, showering us in His light and love.  Our mission is to take up the torch and carry this light and love everywhere we go. We can accomplish this each and every day, by simply reflecting God’s love and mercy in the simple gestures of our lives — a smile, an embrace, a touch, a kind word spoken to a stranger, or by simply allowing your inner light to shine brightly, to be hope to others and letting them know that they are important and loved and that each and every one of us does make a difference. 

We are not asked to move mountains, we are asked to be bearers of light, to let hope kindle the hearts of the despairing, to be there when a friend is in need or to lend a hand to that stranger struggling with their heavy load. We can make a difference, all we have to do is say yes. 

Anchor columnist Rose Mary Saraiva lives in Fall River and is a parishioner of St. Michael’s Parish, and she is the Events Coordinator and Bereavement Ministry for the diocesan Office of Faith Formation. She is married with three children and two grandchildren. rmsaraiva@dfrcec.com.

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