I spent a good chunk of time praying in Assisi before this cross. We have a replica in the chapel of my parish. I quietly slipped into that prayer space today after mass and let myself be transported in time, back to the cathedral in Assisi. I wanted to pray without being disturbed. I am leaving shortly for a missions trip in the Dominican Republic with Shine the Light Initiative (STLi) where our group will be building two homes, running a medical clinic and visiting a local school. I have been wanting to take some time with the Lord before I left and other things seemed to bump into my good intentions, delaying this.
I sat looking at this cross that holds so much meaning for me. I closed my eyes, picturing the original cross in Italy, seeing myself praying there, sensing St. Francis’ presence. I worked my way back down to St. Clare’s tomb and allowed the emotions to flood over me once again. Tears came. Gratitude arose. Then I allowed myself to imagine the group of us in the DR. I asked for a blessing on all of us. I prayed that we might be a Light to all we meet. I held that image of us and watched the Light of Christ permeate our beings until it spilled out of us and shot in every direction.
Serving God has long been a desire of mine and I realize that I am blessed with this opportunity. I could have stayed put safely. At some point, it will be unwise to travel out of the country. It comes at a risk. I am enlisting extra prayer support while I am away so that I may return without incident. My prudent family doctor has told me not to overexert myself and I could feel my disappointment rise upon hearing her words. I tell myself there are many ways to serve the Lord. I must just be open to shining my Light in whatever way I can. I want to recognize Christ in each person I meet–whether as part of our Canadian group, within the local people or other guests that I encounter. I want to reflect the Light wherever I can.
The founders of STLi use the symbol of the starfish and the story of the young child who tosses one of the sea creatures back into the ocean, desiring to make a difference to at least one of them. One by one, we change the world. Action by action, if we ignore the naysayers, we improve our corner of the global community. I love starfish and that story has deep meaning to me as I used it to talk about another DR–the DRC. I will never forget the Congolese woman who taught me how much difference one person can make–and how one woman who stepped out of her safe zone created enormous change and saved many lives. I am stepping out in faith, trusting that I am supposed to be shining the Light, in this way. Keep me in your prayers as I go. I will try to post some stories or photos while I am gone. I have just a couple of more sleeps before I depart. I decided that I would use this trip as a form of intercessory prayer for all who pray for me. I carry you with me as I go.
How will you shine your Light today?
When have you decided to make prayer a priority in a busy schedule?
Shine, Light of the World, through me so that I may be a blessing to all I meet. Set my heart on fire with a desire to serve you. Never let me be too busy to stop and prayer so that I keep my bearings and know who is in charge. Amen.