I have come to the world as its light. John 12:46
A current problem receiving media attention is that of dysfunctional people. Whatever the cause—food, alchohol, gambling, chemical abuse of both illegal and prescription drugs, physical, emotional or sexual abuse in families and so on—these and other addictions are constants in the talk shows, films, books, and magazines flooding the market. Treatment centers are growing at a phenomenal rate. Is there no end to this plague which consumes so much of our time and money?
Certainly the help being provided by treatment centers, counselors, and support groups can only be commended. However at base, the most powerful help of all resides within the dysfunctional people themselves. Some identify this help as their “Higher Power.” More specifically for us, Christ the Light is that powerful force residing within each of us. It is both welcoming and disturbing for both dysfunctional people and those who will not accept this truth. After relying on ourselves for so many years to survive, it is a relief to realize we have such a powerful advocate so close at hand.
At the same time, it is difficult to surrender to Jesus within. How much easier to cling to the old familiar pattern of taking care of oneself! Total dependence on the Lord is a hard practice even for so-called “healthy” people, but Jesus can reconcile the differences raging within if we allow Him to free the tendency we have to rely on ourselves and, instead, allow Him to be our Light. Turning over to Him the warring factions we find in ourselves can only lead us to peace, joy, and freedom.
Jesus, be our Light!
—Sister Mary E. Penrose
|Sister Mary E. Penrose is a Sister of St. Scholastica Monastery in Duluth, Minnesota. She edits readings for the liturgical Hours and writes reflections for the Community. And she is a tutor for the African Sisters attending The College of St. Scholastica. She was editor of a journal, Spirit & Life, for 18 years.|