“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...
Soon after becoming Pope, Francis left his room at the Domus Marta and met a Swiss Guard standing at attention outside his door. He asked him, “And what are you doing here? Were you awake all night?” “Yes,” the guard answered...
We share fully in Jesus’ relationship with His Father. When trouble finds us, as it usually does, we know that we have someone we can count on, someone who cares for us. For we know that our affliction is the key to action for this...
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 immigrant’s heart. To guide the way, America offered the great torch of freedom. From later stories, even from my own Mother we know many pilgrims did become free, and fulfilled their dreams of a new beginning here in the “land of the free and the brave.”
In a sense, we never stop yearning for freedom and fulfillment. Whether we are poor, rich, or just plain tired, we seek happiness. Happiness is what Jesus died to give us. . Yet in so many ways, we stay spiritually homeless waiting for freedom to happen in our hearts .
Unlike the immigrants who sailed into New York harbor, we expect someone else to open our new world for us. Yet, it is Jesus and only Jesus who offers the torch, while we provide the passion and determination. With Jesus’ help, all dreams are possible.
As we celebrate soon our American independence, we pray for the hope of world peace especially in this land so enriched by God’s grace remembering these words of St. Francis de Sales:
“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.”
|Soon after becoming Pope, Francis left his room at the Domus Marta and met a Swiss Guard standing at attention outside his door. He asked him, “And what are you doing here? Were you awake all night?” “Yes,” the guard answered respectfully. “Standing? Remarked Pope Francis. The Swiss Guard replied: “One of my colleagues gave me a break.” The Pope quickly added, “And you’re not tired?” The young Papal guard added, “It’s my duty Your Holiness, for Your safety.” The Pope looked at him with kindness.
Pope Francis went back into his apartment and quickly returned with a chair in his hand saying: “At least sit down and rest.” Shocked, the Swiss Guard replied, “Forgive me, but I can’t! The rules don’t allow it.” He continued, “The rules? My captain, Your Holiness.” “Oh, is that so,” said Pope Francis. “Well, I’m the Pope and I am asking you to sit down.” So, between the rules and the Pope, the Swiss Guard, chose to sit down. After which the Pope brought him bread and jam for a snack, saying, “Buon appetito, brother!”
The Lesson of this little vignette is simple, and one we can easily learn ourselves. When Pope Francis sees another person, he genuinely sees an individual–unique and one of a kind. Pope Francis always sees people first. He never lumps people together in clumps, categories or stereotypes. He sees each person as distinctly chosen and beloved by God. Pope Francis always tries to see what God sees when He gazes on us.
God only sees a person so dear to Him that Jesus, His son, had to die to save him. Every person is that exquisite in God’s eyes. Pope Francis too sees this potential which GK Chesterton describes as: The innate ability to become “a beautiful, exquisite royal palace.”
It takes effort and a strong belief to see what Pope Francis saw outside his room early that morning. He didn’t see only a Swiss guard or a brightly, colored uniform, a sword, rules or even procedure. Pope Francis saw a hungry, tired young man. And Pope Francis found a chair, a breakfast snack and a cup of coffee to alleviate his fatigue. Everything else for Pope Francis was secondary.
It’s the same with God. We are God’s children first and foremost, and this is what God sees every time-He looks at us. Everything else is secondary- our faults, mistakes, everything. God never judges us simply based on our last mistake.
Now, if this is how God sees us, why can’t we do the same instead of separating others into a vast ocean of differences? We need to “See People First.” After that everything else is secondary. This sounds like the perfect rule to live by. It works for God and Francis, and it can easily work for us.
We share fully in Jesus’ relationship with His Father. When trouble finds us, as it usually does, we know that we have someone we can count on, someone who cares for us. For we know that our affliction is the key to action for this loving God.
It is for Bob, a successful teacher with two small children, but who has been diagnosed with Cancer. Devastated as Bob and his family are, Bob finds hope and his hope defies his cancer; thus, giving him the will to go on! Why?
Because–Bob knows that our loving and merciful God will do anything to save us, love us, help us and cherish us. And to know this and truly believe this provides us with hope. Hope is the life line the helps us to stand when we fall.
Hope sustains us when everything else does not work. It is hope that says to us “we will make it.” We will make it because God will not let us fail. Didn’t God send Jesus so that none of us would perish? Indeed God did and because of this wonderful gift, we have hope.
Winston Churchill, the great leader of Great Britain, during the Nazi bombings of London said, Never, never, never give up! And the Londoners didn’t. Jesus says, “Hope in Me and you will survive.” And we will because, as believers, we know that when Jesus makes a promise–He keeps it.
God’s love and protection produces the endurance, i.e. the hope, needed when affliction impedes our journey. We simply have to hold tightly to this hope and never surrender to the affliction.
Again, God wants us to endure and Jesus’ words spoken when He was among us– cheer us on. They continue to remind us that our God truly wants us to come home to Him someday, because God’s glory is my salvation, -and so is everyone else’s salvation.
Hear then, this mantra: “Never, never, never give up” as our salvation is God’s glory. Our hope with God’s help is the way we can do it. Now that’s something to cheer about each and every day!Read More