Remember the children’s book, “Charlotte’s Web”? That was always one of my favorites. You remember, the spider who could spin words in her web? One of her words that is resonating with me this week is radiant.
It’s day 57 of my 100 Day Challenge. This week contained some firsts for me. I continue to challenge myself, or I should say, God is continuing to challenge me, by taking me outside my comfort zone. My “firsts” this week included going to confession to my priest (who is also my boss) and reading at a daily Mass. Be careful what you pray for, you may not be comfortable with what you are called to do. I have been praying for a little closer walk with Jesus but I wasn’t ready for the anxiety and nervousness that I was feeling.
Do you ever deal with that? Anxiety? I was sweating like a pig all day! I really don’t like going to confession, so I avoid it as much as possible and in the 10 years I’ve worked at the church, I’ve never gone to my boss for confession! But it’s a new year, a new priest, a new me doing firsts of things I’ve never done before. After Mass yesterday, I have to admit, I was radiant. I felt confident. I had overcome my fears.
This year in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati we have a new slogan to “radiate the light of Christ.” We are called to Radiate Christ. What does that mean exactly? That seems a pretty tall order these days. Would you use the word radiant to describe yourself? When people see you, do you light up the room? Do they wonder why you are so happy and where your source of joy comes from?
I think radiance is a combination of character traits. There’s joy, cheerfulness and some confidence and humility in the mix. When I think of someone who is radiant, I think of someone who is beaming, and grinning ear to ear. They have a glow, a presence about them. –Think of a bride on her wedding day or a soon to be mom.
Once, when I was driving around town, I remember passing a lady in her car who was smiling, almost laughing. She was sincerely happy. Do you ever notice the expressions of people in their cars as they pass you by? Not too many happy faces out there, but what an impression this lady made on me. She was happy and it showed and she wasn’t trying to impress anyone. She didn’t realize anyone was watching. As it turned out, I recognized this woman and I knew it was just in her nature to be radiant.
How can we get others to take on being radiant? There are so many who suffer from depression and anxiety these days. It seems almost epidemic proportions. But I came across this song. I hope it will encourage you if you are not feeling so radiant. As I get older, I like to remember the oldies. It’s a song sung by Judy Garland, called “Smile.” Here’s the video if you want to reminisce.
Smile though your heart is aching
Smile, even though it’s breaking
When there are clouds, in the sky, you’ll get by
If you smile, through your fear and sorrow
Smile, and there’ll be tomorrow
You’ll see the sun come shining through
Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear, may be ever so near
That’s the time, you must keep on trying
Smile, what’s the use of crying?
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you’ll just
It’s a great song, and true to a point. In order to learn to be radiant, you start with a smile and work from there. But before you begin, you’re going to need a source of strength and joy to pull from.
This is the week I’ve also been praying a novena (9 days of prayer) with Mother Teresa. She always had a smile even though she said she couldn’t feel God’s presence while she was working with the poor and dying people of India. But Mother Teresa had a source of strength and joy, her Lord Jesus. He was always in her heart. She knew her source and He knew her. And she radiated the light of Christ like nobody’s business, even when she didn’t feel like it.
So I’m hoping this post will in some way encourage you to radiate the light of Christ that is in you. It is there. We have to seek Him with our whole heart. This has been an amazing week for me as I draw closer to Jesus through prayer, fasting and Mass. You have to start somewhere, start with reading the Bible and prayer. He will meet you wherever you are.
This life is all about living it to the fullest. Putting on character and virtue and producing the fruits of those traits by radiating the light of Christ with your smile.
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Smile and God bless.–Barb