«The shadow of Apostle Peter as he passes by» (Acts 5:15)
In apostolic times, people flocked to the apostles with their needs, brought their sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats ‘so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by (Acts 5:15).’ Each of us, too, casts a shadow throughout our lives. By necessity, our life will affect others, and we must expend every effort for this impact to be beneficial, healing and favourable. We may act on the life of our neighbour consciously, but also unconsciously and invisibly. There is something barely discernible that emanates from us and touches others like the delicate fragrance of a flower that spreads in the ambient air. Our activity may stop, but our life does not. By our very existence, we may assist or hinder the lives of other people. Human weaknesses and traits of character may spread to others and impact our neighbours in ways unbeknown to us. When beneficial, it resembles the invigorating breeze of fresh mountain air that is both healing and regenerating.
So what kind of shadow do I cast around me? Does it act on others like the venom of a deadly snake, or like the tree of life that brings life-giving fruit? Can my shadow relieve the sorrows of those who are weary and burdened, of whom there are so many in this world? Would meeting me and having a short conversation give any reassurance to a stranger? With every word and look, we can gladden the spirit of another and pass on to them the great gifts of God, as long as we can irradiate, with inspiration from the Holy Spirit, our love, empathy and inner peace. For some people, even their shadow acts beneficially on others. Does my shadow have the same effect?
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds