Wednesday, September 2, 2015

People Who Shine Their Light Into the Darkness ("Just Thoughts" Essay)

Just Thoughts: A Light Shines in the Darkness

"A light shines in the darkness . . . and the darkness has not overcome it." These words of St. John the Evangelist perfectly describe the works and actions of certain people in the world. Some of these people are known only to friends and family. Think of your mother or father, maybe. Or somebody like Kay Coughlin. of St. Mary Magdalene Parish in Willowick. At age 88, tethered to oxygen, she has recently crocheted 130 scarves for the Homeless, 30 of which will be given to the Homeless in Painesville (Our Church is very involved in ministering to these folks).

Many of the people shining a light into the darkness and chaos are not Catholic, and some aren't Christian. One great servant of peace and light is the Dalai Lama, who came to the attention of the great Trappist Monk Thomas Merton as early as 1968. The Dalai Lama is a Tibetan Buddhist, and spreads the words and ways of peace throughout the world. He is a Peace Hero.

Another great Peace Hero is Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa. He has been a key figure in the transition of South Africa from a racist state, dominated by a small majority, into the nation it is today.

Another Peace Hero is only 18 years old. She is Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani Muslim who has bravely stood up for the rights of women and children. For her stance, she was targeted by those claiming to be Taliban. Luckily she survived the assassination attempt and has recovered. Malala was the 2014 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Finally, one of the key examples of light shining into the darkness is the witness of our beloved Pope Francis. Our Pope is a Jesuit, in that great tradition of scholarship, education, and service. He took on the name and style of Francis of Assisi, which is so apparent in his peacemaking efforts, his environmentalism, and his welcoming style.

We have these great models before us. Let us try to imitate them and bring our own light and grace to bear upon the World.

[Written for St. Mary's Painesville Bulletin--for September 6, 2015]

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