Then Jesus cried aloud: “Whoever believes in me believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness. I do not judge anyone who hears my words and does not keep them, for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my word has a judge; on the last day the word that I have spoken will serve as judge, for I have not spoken on my own, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment about what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I speak, therefore, I speak just as the Father has told me.”
Sister Thea Bowman of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration captured the imagination and hearts of many in her short life (1937-1990). A convert to Roman Catholicism at a young age she sparked an appreciation for the place of the Holy Spirit in our prayer, our worship, and our daily living. Blessed with a beautiful singing voice, strong intellect, and dynamic oratorical skills, she sang with gusto:
This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.
This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!
Her spirit-filled faith attracted even the thick-skinned, hard-nosed 60 Minutes reporter, the late-Mike Wallace, who did a story about her in the 1980s in which she told him:
“I think the difference between me and some people is that I’m content to do my little bit. Sometimes people think they have to do big things in order to make change.
But if each one would light a candle we’d have a tremendous light”.
Sister Thea Bowman strived to live her life in imitation of Christ; not to judge others who mistreated her as a black woman in the segregated South and prejudiced North, but to be an instrument in God’s hands to save and redeem people’s goodness. Pray that I may fulfill my goal each day to do as Christ did; to show love, to enable healing, to forgive others, and to let His light shine through little old me.
Let your light shine: Smile.
—Fr. Chris Manahan, S.J. is Associate Novice Director at the Jesuit Novitiate of St. Alberto Hurtado, St. Paul, MN. For more information on Jesuit vocations, click here.
Lord, where there is darkness help us to hope for your light. Where there is doubt and confusion, bring your clarity to our struggle. Where there is suffering for the sake of others, fortify our commitment. When we see only the shadow of disappointment, remind us that your light will prevail and we will regain our bearings. And when those we love take their final breath and when our turn comes to bid this earth farewell, may we all cross over into your eternal light.
—The Jesuit Prayer TeamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!