Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross in Green Bay, WI
Reflection for Jan. 3, 2021

Reflection for Jan. 3, 2021

We have seen His star

How do we light the way for others seeking Jesus?

by Sister Elise Cholewinski

Something I’ve often heard people say of late is, “I’m spiritual but not religious.” By that statement I believe they mean that they do acknowledge that God exists and that they may even pray to God and have some sense of God’s love for them, but they are not connected to a Sacred Story or a religious tradition.

Were the magi in the Gospel for this Sunday -- the great feast of Epiphany, the climax of the Christmas season -- spiritual but not religious? We really don’t know, but we do know that they were not Jewish and were not part of Israel’s covenant relationship with God. They were, however, seeking something deep and meaningful, and they felt compelled to follow the Star. Eventually they found themselves kneeling before a manger and a Child. Having been warned about Herod’s deceitful scheme, they returned home by another way.

As disciples responding to the call to evangelize, our role is primarily to be the Star. Rather than standing in the stable, waiting for people to arrive so that we can explain the Story, we simply let our light shine in a way that attracts them to search deeper. The focus of our ministry is on the journey, not the destination, while we never lose sight of the stable. Our challenge is to shine so brightly that others are overjoyed when they come in contact with our light, and they are motivated to stay on the road. We need to trust that eventually they will find Him, they will bow in humble adoration, and their lives will move forward in a new direction.

Reflection questions
  1. Who are the people you have met who are “spiritual but not religious”?
  2. In what ways have they been intrigued by what you have said or done?
  3. How can you let your light shine ever more brightly?


12/31/2020 2:36 pm

Your reflection, Elise, makes me think of the extraordinarily rare gift our world was given this year as 2020, a year of extraordinarily rare 'darkness,' was coming to an end, and the celebration of the birth of Christ was upon us -- the "Christmas Star," as people called it, with the convergence of Saturn and Jupiter on Winter Solstice 2020.

People all over the world found new meaning, purpose, and hope through this once-in-800-years astronomical event. I called it to the attention of my children and grandchildren, making sure they all knew how spectacular-of-times we are living in, to be reawakened to a Deep Mystery -- of grace, perhaps -- like none other we have known.

Your reflection also reminds me of the verse on a Christmas card I read many years ago, and purchased multiple boxes of them because I liked the saying so well -- "Star of Bethlehem shine in our hearts. Show us Christ dwelling there."

And it reminds me, too, of a photo that was recently sent from a contemplative site: A wintry road, encased between rows of snow-laden, barren trees, a misty, hazy light ahead. It gave me great pause to consider how I will say 'good-bye' to the darkness of 2020, and journey into the new light of 2021.

Perhaps the Magi, too, after years of longing to leave the darkness of an oppressively cruel and hurtful world behind them and enter into a new kind of light they had not yet known, were intuitively guided by that same Spirit - the Spirit of Wisdom -- ever infinite, ever eternal -- and the Light-of-Christ which led the way.

As you point out, Elise, we are today's Magi. Seeing and following the Christmas Star, we reflect its ight. Finding "THE" Christmas Star in the Person of JESUS, Christ, we can, ultimately, reflect the Christ-Light, as well.

This is grace-at-work-in-us.

01/01/2021 9:10 am

Dear Sister, I was so drawn to the idea of being a brightly shining light, something each of us can do, and I do recall the people on my journey who were the brightly shining lights for me. Some I knew, some I saw from a distance, but each of them called me to continue my journey. I would say to myself, “If they have found the Light which shines through then, I can too.” Thank you, Sister, for the reminder to be grateful and to shine!

Kathy Bergstrom
01/01/2021 9:40 am

Thank you, Elise. Your thoughts are so beautiful. Reminiscent of St. Francis, who believed one should preach not with words but by example.

Ann Hoban
01/01/2021 1:17 pm

Truly beautiful. I agree with Kathy.

Sister Laura Zelten
01/01/2021 2:00 pm

Elise, I love the star image showing us the way to new and unknown paths as we enter 2021. I am glad and excited that we can walk together as Sisters following the star of Jesus.

Allan Herrman
01/01/2021 4:20 pm

Leading by example so others (family, friends, neighbors, even enemies, assuming you might have one??) might find the Grace of God. Thank you for your thoughts. A great New Year Resolution.

Deb Haven
01/01/2021 4:40 pm

Leaving the darkness, outrage of 2020 behind, never felt so good. May we point the way of grace -filled moments to our friends and neighbors. Lord, help us to be your shining light.

01/01/2021 6:17 pm

Let it Shine! Gracias!

Diane Cahall
01/03/2021 6:48 pm

I love this is so valuable for those who are spiritual but not religious. I personally believe that one can ever shine their light bright enough but I do keep trying.
01/04/2021 11:29 am

Thank you for your thoughtful reflection on how to be the Star and reflecting on ways to let our light shine more brightly.

Add Your Comment

This is not displayed anywhere publicly.

Weekly Reflections Email

Be notified every time a Weekly Reflection is added!

Sign Up Now

Newsletter Signup

Want to receive our Newsletter?

Sign Up Now