Stepping into the Lamelight
WORLD famous actors, singers, models, artists, etc. are not the only ones who tread the red carpet. We all, in some small way or another, have our own red carpets to gingerly walk on.
Every person possesses a natural desire for some claim to fame which is not immediately identified as vainglory. Unlike vainglory, which is an ego hungrily seeking and feeding on other’s attention, the positive sensation to share one’s perfections is a natural fruit produced by man’s God-given gifts of knowing (his intelligence) the truth and desiring (his will) what is good.
When we have something good, resulting from our sincere efforts or talents, we want to impart it to others. This unfolding of a personal good is only natural. Thus, we congratulate, complement, and reward people for their work and service.
Ultimately, a sincere person is aware that he or she cannot take full credit for his achievements, not only because of the other people who have helped, but because something good was made possible by prior goods such as the gift of life, one’s senses, and talents, etc. that come from God.
Our Lord’s life teaches us a different way of looking at the good and valuable things we have. What men would naturally shun or be disgusted with is precisely what Christ highlights and draws more good from.
Take the following three miracles: the paralytic lowered from the roof, the woman long-inflicted by internal hemorrhage, and the man with a withered hand.
It was a well-known fact that illness or any kind of misfortune was a form of divine punishment. God was punishing someone either for his sins or due to the offenses of his ancestors. Jesus had often corrected this atrophied perception of justice fomented by the Scribes and the Pharisees.
In the three miracles abovementioned, we find a common element: Jesus asked the individuals to step into the public eye, and present themselves. This was difficult and unthinkable for these sick and impaired individuals!
But despite all the external and internal motives to resist, they humbly comply.
In the miracle of the paralytic, it was the ill man’s friends who lowered him down into the crowd. Due to the faith of his friends, the paralytic was forgiven his sins and healed.
The woman with hemorrhage was cured when she secretly touched the tassel of Jesus’ cloak. But Jesus wanted her “discreet” intentions to be revealed as a testimony of her faith before God and others.
Finally, before curing a man’s withered hand, Jesus asked him to step into the full view of the crowd. The man obeyed, stretched out his hand and was cured.
Indeed, God’s ways are not man’s ways!
In order to pour out His grace upon us, He wants us to step into the “lamelight.” That is, the personal awareness of our nothingness, sinfulness, and total dependence on Him.
And we should not be afraid when Jesus calls us to step into the limelight of prayer, sacrifice, and the Sacraments. These are the divine searchlights of our conversion and apostolic fruitfulness.
In these hallowed spaces we can confidently show Jesus—disregarding what and how the rest of the world may see us—our sins, defects, insecurities, attachments, and even our trivial hang-ups. These are the things that others would prefer to hide from the others!
When we embrace our lamelight, with courage and trust, Jesus will be there to comfort, console, and heal what may be weighing us down. And understanding our weakness and limitations, as St. Josemaría ponders, He may even take up our cross for us if only to fill us with hope, peace, and joy that arise from the limelight of His mercy.