The Light of A Soul
We have all met persons of this sort. They are rare, no doubt, but there flows from them such an intensity of inner life, such calm strength, such true beauty that merely to come into contact with them soothes and comforts us. After all, this is only natural. Our outer life is the reproduction of our inner life, and the visible part of us reflects what is unseen; we radiate our souls, so to say, and,when they are centers of light and warmth, other souls need only to be brought into contact with them in order to be warmed and enlightened. We give out, often unknown to ourselves, what we carry within us; let us strive to increase daily this reserve store of faith and quiet charity. – The Secret Diary of Elisabeth Leseur, p. 246 (The Little Treatise on Peace, paragraph nine)
Peace is often as elusive as a cloud; something we see, but cannot ever seem to capture within our own hearts – at least not for very long.
Our greatest exposure to peace is often the recognition of its effects on others, which is why we are so drawn to certain individuals. Whether we have the privilege of knowing them for a lifetime or we meet them but for a moment, these rare individuals are bound to have a lifelong impact, because we experience the profound beauty of their souls, which both comfort and inspire us.
Earlier today I had an entire post drafted about a young man that has touched the life of our son over the brief time he’s been in high school. But upon reading it, I realized that the particulars of how he touched our son wouldn’t matter very much to any of you. The indelible mark that one person’s soul leaves upon the soul of another is, for the most part, indescribable.
Tragically, this 15-year-old, who left such an impression on our son – and on the sons of so many others in their small Catholic boys school – was killed in a car accident Friday evening. It was a horrific accident, involving a car attempting to cross four busy lanes of traffic at an intersection oddly devoid of a traffic light. Such a dangerous situation, no matter who the driver. Sadly, the kids failed to see an oncoming vehicle, and the result cost the life of a beautiful young man, and has placed the lives of the driver and another friend in critical condition.
Nate LaFave, a sophomore at Mount Michael, had a knack for making everyone feel special, while also being a great student and a talented athlete. Nate once called our son his “favorite freshman,” never failing to build him up whenever they talked. As a result of Nate’s pure goodness, our son has told us more about him than any other friend since his first introduction to the school, when Nate served as his student ambassador. Over the weekend I heard someone say that Nate had been everybody’s “best friend.” I have no doubt about it.
This young man, who exuded such great joy and kindness as a reflection of his interior strength, had been an inspiration for many in life. But because of the nature of his life, in death he may become a force of inspiration that none of us can begin to comprehend. The spark that he ignited in life has already become a consuming flame, engulfing these boys in a fire of brotherhood and passion that could only be described as supernatural.
To date, I wonder how many souls have been introduced to the Source of all light through the brightness that shone in Nate’s eyes? The warmth of his smile? How many hearts have been ignited by his kind words? It seems the numbers are countless – and no doubt they will continue to grow.
In her journal, Elisabeth credits Lacordaire, a Dominican preacher, with saying “sooner or later, one live[s] for nothing but souls.” Elisabeth, herself, tells us that only in eternity will we ever realize the effect our lives have had upon the souls of others.
Like Nate, who seems to have accomplished so much in such a short time, may we all put into practice the wisdom of Elisabeth Leseur, who reminds us,
Thus we shall accomplish what is here below the task of every Christian, before he possesses the living peace that is eternal. This task is to extend the kingdom of God, to bring Christ to the world at large and to the souls of individuals, and to sow in tears and with painful exertion the seed that will bring forth at last a supernatural harvest.
from Vicki Burbach—Catholic Spiritual Direction (www.spiritualdirection.com)