Visible light exists throughout our universe in waves and particles, traveling at 186,282 miles per second. But visible light is only “visible” to the human eye when we either look at its source or at an object that reflects it. This is most evident in outer space, where light has no atmosphere to illuminate (as there is on earth). In outer space light shines from every direction, particularly from our sun. Yet it does not light up space – for space is a vacuum and there is nothing to reflect the sun’s light or to indicate light’s presence. All we can see is the blackness of space – even though the light of our sun is present everywhere in our solar system. Despite all the waves and particles of light our sun emits, none are discernible to us – except from the planets and moons in our solar system that reflect the sun’s light.
I hope this isn’t too confusing, because the same dynamics are at work when it comes to the light of God’s love. God’s love is not visible to others unless we reflect it. God’s love shines into our world all the time. But all people can see is a vacuum. They see a world devoid of love and filled with the darkness of injustice and hate. His people must reflect the light of God’s love. “God loves you.” “The light of His love is all around you.” But others cannot see it unless we reflect God’s love by our words and deeds. “Therefore let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify you Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
During the Second World War, Allied bombers reduced the German city of Dresden to an unholy rubble. Following the war, the Dresdeners sought to rebuild their city along with its ancient cathedrals. In one of these cathedrals, a large figure of Christ had once stood. The statue of Christ had fallen and both of its arms had broken off at the shoulders. After the church parishioners had this statue of Jesus restored, they argued among themselves. They could not figure out how the sculptor originally positioned the arms of Christ. Some said Christ’s arms extended upward to God. Others insisted Christ’s arms extended outward to the people. As a result of their inability to decide, they forced the issue on their priest.
Finally the parish priest made the decision. He left the statue of Jesus without arms and had this inscription carved on its: YOU ARE THE ONLY ARMS CHRIST HAS.
St. Teresa of Avila once wrote: “Christ has no body now on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours; yours are the eyes through which to look at Christ’s compassion to the world, yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good, and yours are the hands with which he is to bless us now.” May God help us to be His hand extended and to faithfully reflect the light of His love!
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.