Merry Christmas! Continuing our daily reflection series “The Light of One”, Casa San Salvador community member and NETWORK Lobby Associate James Luisi writes about the impact a mentor’s faith had on him.

As I ponder the blessings of Advent, I want to reflect on how grateful I am for the guidance of one mentor in my life. Fr. Tom Regan has been instrumental in helping me to achieve my goals over the past few years. Not only is he a brilliant instructor who makes every one of his students feel like their contribution to the class is valuable, but he always makes himself available to students in order to assist them in their professional goals.

The middle of my senior year of college was a tumultuous time for me as I planned what I might do upon graduation. I doubt my experience of this anxiety is unique. But for me, it was causing enormous self-doubt. I was particularly discouraged and disappointed in myself; I had been planning on applying to law schools for the year after I graduated from college, and had recently delivered a mediocre performance on the LSAT (the standardized test most law schools require).

Photo provided by James Luisi

This left me feeling lost and hesitant about what path to choose for my life. Whatever path I chose, I wanted to be using my gifts in a way that I felt would be in line with God’s plan for my life.

But I was filled with the anxiety that I might be letting down everyone around me, that I might not actually possess any meaningful gifts or talents.

Thankfully, I had a persistent mentor in Fr. Regan. Not only was he willing to assist me as I navigated my post graduate plans by being a reference or writing a recommendation letter, he also offered some of the best encouragement I’ve ever received: “Have courage. And be kind to yourself.”

Fr. Regan’s encouragement gave me the courage to believe in myself, to take chances without fear of rejection. Without him, I would not have the job that I love, working for NETWORK on economic justice issues.

Fr. Regan’s words remind me that God has given me many gifts. They remind me that God does not make mistakes and chooses me as God’s own. Sometimes, it takes courage to accept this. But with just a little courage and trust in God, God can use my gifts to serve God’s people. And for that bit of wisdom, I shall always remain grateful to Fr. Regan.

Coming up tomorrow: “From Tourist to Traveler” by Fr. Jason Welle (OFM)!

Originally from Dallas, Texas, James Luisi graduated from Loyola University Chicago with majors in political science and philosophy and a minor in Catholic studies. James is Lobby Associate at NETWORK, a national Catholic Social Justice Lobby. He is also a community member of Casa San Salvador.

Help shine the light! Make a donation to Franciscan Mission Service this Advent.