From Br. Joseph (Aug. 28, 2007) —
A few years ago, a priest gave a wonderful little homily on tarnish. You know about tarnish, that stuff that builds up and covers the shine of metal objects like gold, silver, brass and such. One summer, the sister in charge of the summer work-grant students had noticed how tarnished the beautiful, antique brass Tabernacle had become in the student chapel. She put several students to work on it. It took a lot of hard work and several days of polishing. After they were done, the Tabernacle shone bright like a beacon on a hill, just like it should for a king. (And it still does!)
In Father’s homily, he made note of this, and compared it to people. People throw a lot of tarnish around on other people. There are many, many ways we do this to each other. Sometimes we are ignorant of the tarnish we glob onto others; sometimes we do it on purpose. Either way, we are to blame. We add to the tarnish, to the dulling of the shine on the tabernacles of other hearts. The shine is always there, but we help cover up that shine, the shine of love, and it becomes harder for them to open up and to reach out to others.
Father also noted some people are tarnish removers, that is, they notice and help try to remove the tarnish and “stuff” that has built up over the weeks, months, years. They also try to help prevent more tarnish from being added. (Note: the Sacrament of Reconciliation does a much, much better job of removing tarnish!)
So, the choice is yours—add more tarnish, or be tarnish remover.
Keep hope alive. Dare to trust. Reflect love in all things. Be tarnish remover.
Our Lady of Mercy, pray for us…