Today’s Gospel: Matthew 5:13-16
You are the salt of the earth.
You are the light of the world.
Jesus’ words to his followers are clear, and they include us, too. We are to be different. We are to be seasoning the world around us. We are to be bringing light where there is darkness. We have a job to do.
The trouble is, sometimes I don’t feel like salt or light. Sometimes, when daily life feels monotonous and my temper feels short and I lose patience with my children and feel like giving up on the laundry altogether, I wonder if I’m the salt that has lost its saltiness. Has my light been hidden under a bushel basket? Did I maybe let it go out altogether?
In the midst of the mundane, everyday tasks of raising children and caring for a family, practicing our faith can feel more like going through the motions than some beautiful, emotional mountaintop spiritual experience. Modeling faith for our children day in and day out can feel tiring and unrewarding at times. It is hard work. Sometimes, especially when we feel distant from God, it can even seem pointless.
Does God care whether I unload the dishwasher? Does it really matter if we don’t say prayers as a family when we are all so tired?
If I don’t feel connected to God, how do I know there is a purpose to what I’m doing?
At moments like these, I’m grateful that we have a faith with motions to go through. When we show up and make the sign of the cross, we are marking ourselves with a physical sign of our faith. Maybe we don’t feel it, but we still do it. When we join with the others around us in the gathered body of Christ to recite the familiar words of the Creed and the Gloria, we are connected to past, present, and future Christians who have done, are doing, and will do exactly what we are doing—using our limited human means to reach out and worship the God to whom we owe everything. When we receive Christ in the Eucharist, we are taking Him into our very bodies and allowing ourselves to be changed from the inside.
It doesn’t matter, maybe, if we feel anything. The words and the motions of our worship are ingrained in us. Our bodies know what to do. Our mouths know the words to pray. We stand, we kneel, we bow—even if we don’t feel like it…and we are praying, even when our hearts aren’t in it.
Someday, we might feel bright and shining again. In the meantime, though, we are still being light for the world. We are doing what we know how to do, what we have been called to do. We are praising God. And no matter how faint our light feels to us, it is brightening the darkness that surrounds it.
Have you ever gone through a time when faith felt more like going through the motions than being connected with God?
Father, help me to be grateful for my faith and for the wisdom and tradition of the Church. Help me remember that you are always with me and that I am yours, even when my light feels dim. Amen.
Copyright 2014 Abbey Dupuy