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Bringing the Light of Christ to the Suffering

Recently, I had the opportunity to see the movie Outcasts, a documentary about the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. This documentary can only be seen right now at special screenings, and it happened that one of these screenings was taking place right here at Seton Hall. For those who are not familiar with the CFRs, they do all kinds of amazing work with the poor and in evangelization. We even have some of the CFR Sisters right here in our own diocese, serving in the streets of Atlantic City. Having had the chance to interact with CFRs several times in the past, I was really excited to watch this movie to gain insight into some of their experiences and ministries.

While I was watching the movie, I was extremely moved by the tender care that the friars showed to people who were in dire need, and it made me think about what the Lord is calling all of us to do, especially those called to priestly and religious vocations. At one point in the film, they interview a friar who is working in Honduras. He talks about how everyone is suffering in some way, and his vocation is to give his entire life to show all those people who are suffering that God has not forgotten them. Is this not also the vocation of the diocesan priest? A priest is called to give his whole life to bear witness to our eternal destiny. He is called to show our suffering world that all the sorrow and misery that we experience is not the end. He is called to show people that they are precious simply because God made them. He is called to bring people the Good News of Jesus Christ, who suffers with us and leads us to the resurrection. All of these things make me so excited for the ministry that lies ahead of me. I want to show people that Christ came “that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).

Yet, regardless of our vocation, is this not what all of us are called to do? God is calling all of us, no matter what our circumstances are, to bear witness to Christ’s resurrection. During the Easter season, I always love hearing the readings from the Acts of the Apostles at mass each day. One of the things that never ceases to amaze me is how the Apostles, who all abandoned Jesus right before He died are now able to proclaim the Gospel so boldly in the face of vicious persecution. Jesus’ resurrection, through the gifts of the Holy Spirit, inspires us to go out into a world of darkness and show all people that their suffering is not the end. “But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him” (Romans 6:8). Christ is risen! Alleluia!

Stephen Robbins

Stephen Robbins

4th College
Stephen Robbins attends The College Seminary of the Immaculate Conception at St. Andrew’s Hall, Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ.
Stephen Robbins

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