“Great opportunities to please God are infrequent,”
But turning little actions into great acts can happen all the time...
Majestically overlooking New York harbor, the Statue of Liberty proclaims these eloquent words: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free . . .” Simple words, yet they ignited passion and determination...
My Mom was the “go to” person in our family. She seemed always to be reaching out to someone in need. Suggesting that she start saying “no” once in a while, I received this response: “When you’re busy helping others, God is busy helping...
When God created us, God made companion’s not “spur-of-the-moment” acquaintances. No Indeed! God wanted to be surrounded by “dear” friends–He truly wanted to be “best friends forever” with us. God was in our friendship for keeps and He...
Majestically overlooking New York harbor, the Statue of Liberty proclaims these eloquent words: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free . . .”
Simple words, yet they ignited passion and determination in every incoming immigrant’s heart even to this Independence Day 2015. To guide these new arrivals , a welcoming America offered the great torch of freedom as their first gift.
We know from later stories, perhaps from our own relatives how many of them did become free, and fulfilled their dreams. While many more today, still wait to be handed that sought after torch to realize their own dream of freedom.
When we think of liberty, doesn’t each of us yearn for the hope it brings? Whether we are poor, rich, homeless or just plain tired, we want to be free to enjoy happiness.
The Lord Jesus also came to give us this very gift. He wanted us to be spiritually free. He wanted us to remove all barriers and obstacles that smothers the Lord’s voice calling us to a holy life and giving the grace to choose it. When we embrace Jesus, we hold a great torch of freedom
Yet in countless ways, we don’t grab hold of this torch. We go it alone making poor choices and choosing unsafe activities. These hold us captive instead of freeing our hearts and lifting our souls to choose true happiness.
Unlike these risking immigrants, we don’t grasp the torch that lights the way to a new world. Yet even in this present moment, this dream for spiritual freedom is still possible.
As we celebrate Independence Day, we pray anew to hold firmly this torch that frees our hearts to love and embraces all strangers we meet along our way.
We find courage in these words:
“God calls us to Himself and is watching to see how we are doing and will never allow anything to happen which is not for our greater good.” De Sales
Look at what is before your eyes. If you are confident that you belong to Christ, remind yourself of this that just as you belong to Christ so also do we. 2 Corinthians (10:7-8;Paul)Read More
My Mom was the “go to” person in our family. She seemed always to be reaching out to someone in need. Suggesting that she start saying “no” once in a while, I received this response: “When you’re busy helping others, God is busy helping you.” My Mother followed strongly, God’s greatest commandments “to love God and love her neighbors.” For my mother it was quite simple: When we reach out to another on God’s behalf, God reaches out to us.
What great wisdom my mother had! God is more about asking us for favors, than He is about testing us or ordering us around. Why? Think of how many ask God everyday for help. And if God had our hands, our feet and our hearts, look how much more can get accomplished and so much faster too. No wonder God rewards us by helping us with His tender, loving and merciful care. He is continuously grateful for our support.
To make this work we have to be alert, look people in the eye, and listen to what they are sharing. However, and what is more important is that we listen more attentively to what they are not saying. Once we hear what they need, then we have to make that big choice “to reach out and love them.” Which simply means “get busy and help them!” And when we do, God, in gratitude looks at what we need and “gets busy and helps us.”
This is how our great partnership with God works. This is what God desired when He created the Garden of Eden, and Jesus, when He was preaching the kingdom. Where do we do this? We can “get busy” wherever we are in our community, in our home, on the bus, shopping with a friend or visiting a lonely neighbor. As soon as we make our move, God “gets busy” too.
This is discipleship, this is evangelization, this is being grateful to God for his many blessings. And the best part of all, it makes God’s day. During her lifetime, my mother was only fulfilling her partnership with God. Today each of us is invited to fulfill ours! God is ready to help us, are we ready to help God?
When we reach out to another on God’s behalf, God reaches out to us.
When God created us, God made companion’s not “spur-of-the-moment” acquaintances. No Indeed! God wanted to be surrounded by “dear” friends–He truly wanted to be “best friends forever” with us. God was in our friendship for keeps and He wanted us to be there too. To this end, God fulfilled His part of by sending Jesus to insure the commitment.
Now we have the nearness of our God through Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Christ. Every time we receive the Eucharist, we embrace the nearness of our God in our lives, in our times and in our world.
Jesus is traveling with us on our pilgrimage to Heaven, which is just another way that God is assured of our safe arrival. And it provides God with opportunities to participate in our lives. How? God does it when Eucharist is celebrated.
When we celebrate our joys, the birth of a new son or daughter, or choose that special someone with whom we want to spend the rest of our lives, we do it with Jesus in Eucharist. It is in Eucharist that God says silently that we are “best friends forever.”
At other times we may gather with family and friends to mourn the loss of a close friend or loved one, or bear another burden too difficult to carry alone–it is at such times that we know our God is near, but felt in different ways.
At the recent funeral of Beau Biden, the 46 year old son of our Vice –President, Joseph Biden, his family sat together in the Church pew–clinging tightly to each other. Although heartbroken by the loss of this gallant young man, their touching seemed to inspire them with the love they share as a family.
It was evident their hearts were stricken with grief, for a bright light was taken from them, but the love for one another woven in their lives was so real and so vigorous it literally poured over the entire family giving them a glow of hope and joy that seemed to overpower their sorrow. As Beau’s siblings shared their words about their brother, the nearness of God shined through and was felt by the entire congregation. This is Eucharist, i.e., Jesus’ presence rising up from that deeply shared love.
It reminded me of a quote: “The strange beauty of suffering is the beauty of having others help us overcome our suffering.” God’s nearness always emanates from those that love, and willingly share it with those who need it.
When Jesus directed us to “Love God and Love our Neighbor,” Jesus reminded us love works in the reverse too. When we love our neighbor, we also love our God. As I listened to the Biden family eulogize Beau, I understood “Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.” God meant we comfort for Him. When we do, the nearness of God glimmers and sparkles, as it did that day in the church.
And no matter how broken or crushed we feel, Eucharist will continue to lead us to “the supper of the lamb.” For at this table, like Beau, and the others who have gone before us, we will experience the “nearness of God” and there we will all be “best friends forever.”Read More