From a Creighton Student's Perspective
April 3, 2011
Freshman, Finance and Business Management Double Major,
Perhaps this is why I was so struck by the passages we hear in today’s Mass: they insist that I’d been going about it all wrong. As it is written in the second reading,
". . .everything exposed by the light becomes visible,
for everything that becomes visible is light."- Ephesians 5:13-14
In my fear of seeming hypocritical, I didn’t let others know me, know my struggles. I kept my flaws out of sight to the best of my ability, never asking for others' advice, insights, or help on my journey. I did my best to walk alone; I tried to keep others from realizing I didn’t have all of the answers.
Yet, this verse tells us it is not in hiding away our sufferings and struggles that they will be repaired, and we will be renewed, but instead in sharing them with others, in letting the Light of the Lord touch them, and transform them. If we keep our struggles under wraps as I tried to do, they will never see the Light.
The last part of this phrase, “for everything that becomes visible is light” takes it one step further and seems similar to the point Jesus makes in the Gospel after being questioned regarding the man’s blindness,
“Neither he nor his parents sinned;
it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.”- John 9:3
Wow. How crazy to think that it is not despite our struggles that God can use us to help others, but through our struggles. He can use our most grave failings, what we feel are our most serious inadequacies. He can use our struggles with self-centeredness, our fight against jealousy, and our desire to place greater trust in the Lord and his plan and turn them into something beautiful: a method of bringing others closer to him. But we must be willing to open ourselves up; we must let others know our many imperfections; we must let ourselves become vulnerable.
It won’t be easy; it never is. In our vulnerability, some who see us proclaiming the presence of God and trying to help others with their crosses are likely to point out our flaws, using our openness in regards to our failings against us; they may call us hypocrites. Like the Pharisees in today’s Gospel, they will wonder,
“You were born totally in sin,
and are you trying to teach us?”-John 9:34
And yet, it is not those who have it all down, those who are better than others that are called to teach (how many teachers would we have in this world if that was the case?). All of us can teach through our experiences; as others see us struggling, they can learn with us. Trials can be such beautiful things when we allow them to bring both ourselves and others closer to God.
Even today the thought of other people reading this reflection makes me cringe; it is difficult for me to encourage others in something I am still daily struggling with myself. I share this with you in the hopes that we can learn together; in the hopes that through our shared experiences, our openness with everyone we meet, we may work always for the betterment of the collective Body of Christ.
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