Being a Light
BY CLARISSA ALJENTERA | November 28, 2022
Light has always fascinated me. I think in these darkening days, the lights I long for are bright Christmas lights on fence posts and in display windows. Beauty in darkness is strands of bright lights in darkened spaces.
This season of Advent is one of preparation and darkening days. As a Filipina American, I look forward to the multicolored Parol (star-shaped Christmas lantern) dotting households and windows in some homes. The tradition is that families in the Philippines hang Parol in their homes to light the way for others. These brightly colored parols are festive and signal to others that ‘here’s a light I have—and I want to share it with you.’
In the second reading taken from Romans, there is the verse, “Let us then throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.” This armor of light I imagine can help us see others and can help others see us. Others light the path for us in times of darkness. They help us see a way. At times we can be the light. The light that a neighbor may be looking for is the light that shines from our home or perhaps within us.
As you prepare for this Advent season, think about how you have found light in others. Who are the people in your life who have been a light for you? For your communities?
Also, think about how you want to be a light for others. Who are the people in your life that you want to be a light for?
Clarissa V. Aljentera joined Ignatian Solidarity Network staff in 2022 as director of Education for Justice. She holds degrees from San Jose State University and Boston College School of Theology and Ministry and has worked as a campus minister at Northwestern University, for the Archdiocese of Chicago in faith formation working with programs engaging young people, engaged couples preparing for marriage, and racial justice initiatives. Before working in ministry, Clarissa spent 10 years working as a newspaper reporter. She lives in Chicago, Illinois with her husband and son.
What a wonderful way for the parol to light the world of darkness in our cities. When I think of Christmas I think of the multi-coloured light bulbs hanging on the cypress trees outside the hotel at the entrance to our small village in the mountains of Lebanon.
Yes we need to remember to protect ourselves with the armour of light and also to let our light shine out from our hearts in a smile that may mitigate the gloomy faces around us in the streets of our cities.
The Missionaries of Charity were and continue to remain a light for me to do small things with great love. To build relationships with the unloved ones in our society. To light a candle for them and give them hope till we meet again.
I pray that God will open doors for me to be a light to our young people, to give them hope that life is worth living here on earth.
In Thy Light we see Light – says the Psalmist.