Following My Shadow
Today’s Reflection from Father Dave
On my first Camino pilgrimage almost 7 years ago, the number one question before my departure was how would I know the route. My plan of action was to just follow my shadow. I would be walking due west from France across Spain, so it seemed like a good plan. Now certain family members pointed out that this might work in the morning, but what about in the afternoon? I did not say this was a foolproof plan, and since my start date was April 1st I was keeping to the theme of this trek: The Fool’s Journey.
I thought about this “following my shadow” on Sunday morning. I was walking in the dark due to the need to get back for live streaming of mass. Suddenly I was aware of my shadow cast by a street light. My shadow kept changing directions as I passed the lamp posts. so it was not so much a directional help but a reminder of an old tale about the Holy Shadow. It is the story of a man who is so good that the angels ask God to give him the gift of miracles. God wisely tells them to ask him if that is what he would wish. So the angels visit this good man and offer him first the gift of healing by hands, then the gift of conversion of souls, and lastly the gift of virtue. He refuses them all. They insist that he choose a gift or they will choose one for him. Angels can be pushy. “Very well,” he replies, “I ask that I may do a great deal of good without ever knowing it.”
The angels were perplexed; they took counsel and resolved upon the following plan. Every time the man’s shadow fell on someone it would have the power to cure disease, soothe pain, and comfort sorrow. The man went about his daily life diffusing virtue without ever being aware of it. People just followed in the man’s shadow, for there they found joy returned and the world seemed to come alive with beauty. He became known simply as the Holy Shadow.
Often we use the phrase “cast a shadow over something” to mean to spoil a good situation with something unpleasant. The event or circumstance makes people sad, shocked, and upset. During these days think of the power your shadow might cast on those whom it touches, and be the Holy Shadow. A small gesture, a call of encouragement, an email or text to someone might be all that is necessary to bring the joy of the Holy Shadow to the world.
In Faith, Hope, and Love I continue to walk following my shadow. (Yes, I know that means I walk in circles.)
Your Wandering Pastor, Fr. Dave