Redemption happens in the low places.
For the sinner it is an experience of relief and joy: At last someone has found me in this place,
in this darkness where I’ve been living.
Until now I didn’t know. Until
light walked in and led me out, I had no idea where I was nor how dark the
darkness had become.
When one lives a life of sin so long that the darkness into
which he’s immersed himself becomes common place, it is not easy to lead him
out. It is all he knows. It is comfortable. On the other hand, for one who, for a while
now, has been living in a state of grace, this darkness is that much more dark.
That much unfamiliar. That much
abrasive. For example, for a man who
likes his drink, the drunken bar scene is something comical, somehow sociable,
but enter a sober man and it is sad and difficult to endure. Yet it is for those in a state of grace to
meet sinners in the dark places of their hearts—to travel into these low places
of human existence—this counterfeit world of sin—and bring to them the light
that will illumine their need for redemption.
This heaviness of sin can lurk behind the brightest smile in
the office or the easiest gait of our school hallways. Only few can truly discern the hearts of
others (let alone their own), but the vast majority of us cannot. It is for us then to boldly enter into any life
(at times like diving into an ocean wave, at times like slipping into a
swimming pool). We are responsible for
one another. How else will they be led
out if those who know the way don’t take them by the hand and walk them on?
This darkness pervades souls. It can be seen everywhere. Sin lies and many have been deceived. We’ve forgotten who made us and for what we
were made. Some are content with their
vices and others with minimal levels of virtue.
It’s true: we all settle for different levels of existence, nevertheless
we ought to strive for the highest, for union with God. And yet wherever we are on our way up that
mountain, it is for us to descend and travel through the low lands in search of
the lost souls whether on the streets, in the bars, the office, the parish or
even the family. We must show the world
that the light is as relentless as the darkness because there are some who,
having been so deceived, have forgotten who they are, and they are surrounded
by none capable of reminding them.
+ Br. Joseph Michael Fino, CFR
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