As I began proclaiming the Gospel at Mass, I will admit that the words pierced me to the heart. "You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot." I felt like I had lost my flavor. Should I be thrown out and trampled underfoot?
In my own experience I know that I am prone to view life in a much more negative light when I am not feeling well. Let's be honest. In times of struggle and suffering it is easier to see everything that is wrong with life rather than the blessings. In the past ten days I have had no desire to be salt or light. I just wanted to turn out the light and go back to sleep.
There are times when we need to re-charge our batteries. Jesus modeled this well for us when He would go off by Himself. It is not selfish to have some self-care once in a while. It keeps us strengthened for our continued work in the vineyard of the Lord.
Each one of us has a story. In that story is a mixture of joys, happiness, pain, sadness, suffering, and a multitude of other emotions. That is the reality of life. My concern is for all of those who struggle desperately and are on the verge of reaching their breaking point. My concern is for all those who have no support system, or who have blocked out their support system. How do you find the help you need?
Henri J. M. Nouwen wrote the book, The Wounded Healer. As I have grown in age, and hopefully in wisdom, I realize more and more the impact of my own woundedness as I minister to and with others. I know what it is to experience pain and hurt. I know the struggle. I know the darkness. Nearly thirty-four years have passed since my original cancer diagnosis. It is my desire to bring hope and healing to others, but I recognize that I do that in the context of still struggling to find my own inner peace at times. It is not an easy journey.
Henri J. M. Nouwen knew that wounded healers needed to be salt and light. His challenge to those in church leadership was evident in one line.
“The beginning and the end of all Christian leadership is to give your life for others.”
~Henri J. M. Nouwen
There are days I am reluctant to be the leader I am called to be. I am selfish and don't want to pour myself out completely as Jesus did on the cross. However, I know that is the calling. It is obvious I still have some growing to do in the way of following Christ totally. To all of you who help me more fully say yes to this great calling, I say thank you. It is my desire to be salt and light for you so you can subsequently be salt and light for others.
Let us build one another up in our journey of faith. There is plenty of negativity in the world to drag us down. Let us be sure to be part of the flock that rises above the fray and stays faithful to Christ and His Church. If you are ever in a spot where you need a listening ear, reach out to someone you can trust. We are the Body of Christ. Stay strong! Fear not! You are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Let your light shine brightly.