Saturday, January 13, turned out to be an exquisite sunny day. Captivated by its charm some people planned to go for a picnic outside. Who really can resist the enjoyment that only a winter sunny day can offer?
I preferred to stay at the friary since, the following day, I had a twelve-hour shift eagerly waiting for me at Mater Dei. However, the fascination of that singularly beautiful sunny day prompted me to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet on the friary’s roof. This I did so as to enjoy those magnificent rays that the sun was lovingly throwing at all those who, like myself, wanted to cherish its company. How wise and bold was my Seraphic Father, Saint Francis, when, in his Canticle of the Creatures, also known as The Canticle of Brother Sun, which he wrote during the spring of 1225, when he was sick at San Damiano, addressed the Lord, in the Umbrian dialect, in the following way: “Praised be You, my Lord, with all Your creatures, especially Sir Brother Sun, Who is the day and through whom You give us light. And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendour; and bears a likeness of You, Most High One”.
Light, beauty, radiance and splendour which Saint Francis mentions when he praises the Lord in Sir Brother Sun remind me of the essential components of laughter, happiness, and, joy. Victor Hugo wrote: “Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face”. In this perspective Pope Francis had this to say on his May 30, 2014 Mass: “Be courageous in suffering and remember that after the Lord will come; after joy will come, after the dark comes the sun”. Joy is paralleled with the sun.
The sun metaphor made me reflect on the great heritage left to us by human reflection throughout the centuries. Starting, of course, from my birthday saintly twin, Saint Teresa of Calcutta, who said about the sun: “We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls”. Yes! The sun is the silent mover. No one hears or dares to hear it. However, it does its work in silence.
Now apart from the fact that the sun moves or not it remains the centre of our solar system. And, this thought, made me race some five centuries back to meet that giant mathematician and astronomer, Nicolaus Copernicus. This Polish genius said: “Finally we shall place the Sun himself at the centre of the Universe”.
The latter astronomical affirmation reminds me of the Sun with a capital S, Jesus Christ. Biblically speaking the Bible shows us that Jesus is the sun when it says of Him: “Through the tender mercy of our God, when the day shall dawn upon us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:78-79). In the transfiguration account the evangelist Matthew likens Jesus face with the sun. “And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light” (Matt 17:2). But, I humbly inquire, when a face becomes like the sun? When the one who carries it gives himself and herself joyfully to others! As, Pope Francis taught us in Evangelii Gaudium, a real evangelizer should be!
“Consequently, an evangelizer must never look like someone who has just come back from a funeral! Let us recover and deepen our enthusiasm, that ‘delightful and comforting joy of evangelizing, even when it is in tears that we must sow… And may the world of our time, which is searching, sometimes with anguish, sometimes with hope, be enabled to receive the good news not from evangelizers who are dejected, discouraged, impatient or anxious, but from ministers of the Gospel whose lives glow with fervour, who have first received the joy of Christ’” (no. 10).
Lord, infect me with your self-giving joy so that you shine in and through me, like the shining sun of January 13 2018. Amen.