Why Forgive?

Why Forgive?

 “Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt. So will My heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart.”

The newspaper comic strip For Better or For Worse is car­toonist Lynn Johnston’s take on modern family life as she chronicles the life of the Pattersons.

In a not too recent episode, six-year-old Michael is trying to build an elaborate tower out of his set of blocks. But the blocks keep toppling over . . . again and again and again. In utter frustration, he screams “Stupid, dumb, crummy …” and kicks the pile of blocks across the room. His mother has had enough of his behavior and drags Mi­chael off to bed. “No! Ahh! Don’t wanna go to bed! Waah!!” he protests, but Mom will have none of it. To bed — now!”

As his exhausted Mom is about to turn off the light, Mi­chael, tucked in his bed, asks, “Mom? Aren’t you gonna kiss me goodnight?’ Continue reading

Thinking As God Thinks

 Thinking As God Thinks

You are thinking not as God does but as human beings do.”

Best-selling author Geneen Roth and her husband were among the thousands of investors who lost their life-savings in Bernie Madoff’s $65-billion-Ponzi scheme. As you can imagine, the anger, fear and regret were intense — 30 years of retirement savings thought to be in a “safe” place disap­peared in an instant.

In her new book entitled Lost and Found, Geneen recounts her family’s story and those of friends who were ruined in the Madoff fraud. She writes that the experience led her to a whole new way of thinking about the “irrational, destructive ways” we use money and evaluate wealth.   In losing every­thing, the Roths and their friends “also lost their attachment to what they thought they needed to be happy. Continue reading

Ask Our Lord for Help and Trust

Ask Our Lord for Help and Trust

“Oh man of little faith, why did you doubt?”

In the June, 2017 edition of the Christian Century magazine, in his article entitled The Temporary Gift of Marriage, Craig Barnes writes: It was the pastor’s last marriage prep meeting with Mike and Sue before their wedding. They had completed all the preparation work on the sacramental dimensions and practical issues of their new life together. Now all that was left was to finalize the wedding cer­emony. As they were about to review the proposed liturgy that the pastor had drafted, Mike said, “Before we get into this, I have to say I’m really sacred.”

Seeing his fiancée’s stunned, pained expression, he said quickly, “Oh, I’m not afraid of marrying you, Sue. I’m just terrified of losing you.” Then he looked back at the pastor and explained, “Several years ago, my mother died, and it almost killed me.” Turning back to his fiancée, Mike continued, “What if something happens to you too? I can’t imagine how I would survive.”

The pastor wanted to say something like, Oh, Mike, don’t worry about that. You’re both young and there are so many wonderful years ahead for both of you. But he had buried too many young people to say that. So, as compassionately as possible, he said, “In my experience 100 percent of all marriages eventually come to an end, and you’ll never beat those odds”. Continue reading

Keep Eyes Fixed on the Final Goal

Keep Eyes Fixed on the Final Goal

“Tell no one of this vision, until the son of man is raised from the dead.”

The late Itzhak Perlman was one of the great virtuoso violinists of the 20th century. Stricken with polio as a child, he wore large braces on both legs and maneuvered with the aid of two crutches.

Seeing him take the stage was an inspiring sight: painfully and slowly, but majestically and confidently, he would make his way to his chair. Then he would carefully lower himself into his chair, place his crutches on the floor, unfasten the braces on his legs, and tuck one foot back and extend the other foot forward; he would then bend down and pick up his violin, arrange it un­der his chin, and then nod to the conductor. It was a ritual that his audiences had come to respect and admire.

Continue reading

Inspiring Joy in Others by Christ

Inspiring Joy in Others by Christ

“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”    

For more than fifty of his more than eighty years, Nurney Mason was a barber in the United States House of Representatives. Nurney Ma­son cut hair out of a tiny booth in the basement of the Rayburn Office Building — his little stall saw nearly as much history as the floor of the Capitol itself. And every day, he brought to his job not only his barbering skills, but kindness, optimism and encouragement He would greet everyone — whether powerful Congressman or lowest-level staffer — with a solid handshake and a knowing smile. Mason stayed upbeat, day after day, the vibrations of his clippers surely jarring his wrists over the half century he worked.

He was asked by one of his Congressional customers how he stayed so upbeat and happy all the time.

Nurney Mason replied simply, “I just make (joy) right here. I create joy where I stand.Continue reading

Fear Not!

Fear Not!

“Everyone who acknowledges Me before others, I will acknowledge before My heavenly Father. But whoever denies Me before others, I will deny before My heavenly Father.”

It’s not very often that the Vatican gives approval to a film showing at the cinema, but it happened in 1997 when the Italian movie Life is Beautiful was first released. It’s an unusual film which deals with a sensitive subject, that of the Nazi Holocaust and the deportation of Jews to concentration camps. Although it won an Oscar for best picture, the movie has its critics as well as its admirers.

The film tells the story of a Jewish Italian man named Guido, an attractive clown-like figure who falls in love with Dora, the woman of his dreams. His humorous personality wins her affection and eventually they marry and have a son. The little boy is about six years old when the Nazi persecution takes over. The Germans round up Guido and his son and, because Dora refuses to be left behind, all three are taken to a concentration camp. When they arrive the couple is separated in preparation for hard labor. Any children are killed, but Guido hides his son and persuades him the whole business is a game in which he must co-operate if he wants to win a prize. The scenes unfold with a mixture of comedy and drama, exploring the rich themes of love, of sacrifice, and of courage. Continue reading

God sends us “Enough” with the Holy Spirit our Consoler

God sends us “Enough” with the Holy Spirit our Consoler

“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate…”

A father and his adult daughter are saying goodbye at the air­port. Her flight’s departure has been announced. They hug one last time at the security gate.

The father says, “I love you, honey, and I wish you enough.”

The daughter hugs her dad again and says, “Dad, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Dad.”

They kiss and she boards her flight, waving one last time before disappearing down the ramp.

The father then walks over to the window to watch his daughter’s plane take off. Tears are beginning to stream down his face.   Someone sitting nearby walks over to him and asks, “Excuse me sir, I don’t mean to intrude, but are you all right?” Continue reading

Unfolding the Holy Work of Creation

Unfolding the Holy Work of Creation

Parent is a domestic minister, a domestic prophet, a domestic priest.

“Whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these,”

Scrubbing the pan in which Sunday’s pot roast was roasted, getting your children to and from school, doctor’s appointments, rehearsals and practices, paying the bills and balancing the checkbook are hardly inspiring, exhilarating experiences. But they are holy acts.

The details of being a parent — cleaning, teaching, driving to and picking up, paying tuition, guiding, counseling, feeding, clothing — take on a spiritual character when they are part of the work of transforming a child into a sacred and thoughtful and engaged adult. Continue reading

Walking With Those Who Need Us

Walking With Those Who Need Us

“And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus Himself drew near and walked with them …”

Tim was nine when the last of many foster-care placements began to break down and he was placed in a home where children received special care and help. Tim was a sad and angry young boy who, having been put into care by his mother when he was six, hated the world. He was often sullen and aggressive, though occasionally he revealed a wicked sense of humor and some sparkle.

During his time at the home, his care-givers would arrange for Tim to meet with his mother. Each time it would be the same. Tim would be excited, full of hope and plans, confident that this time things would be different and his mother would want him back. It was a very normal reaction for any child. Each time, however, the pain would be greater. Tim’s mother would express her pleasure at seeing him, give him sweets and they would go off for the day. Then it would end and Tim would return, agitated, withdrawn and angry, refusing to talk. His hopes and dreams were once more dashed. It took a great deal of being alongside him, listening to him and helping him to make sense of what had happened to him, before he could move on and begin to live with a different kind of hope. Continue reading

Transformation into Something Greater

Transformation into Something Greater

“Do not be frightened. He has been raised up, exactly as he promised.”

Silicon dioxide — aka sand.

Purify it, remove any traces of iron, and bleach it. Add limestone and sodium carbonate.  Heat it at 1700 degrees, until the sand melts. The result: glass.

Glass that can inspire as part of a cathedral’s brilliant stained glass window, or glass that can illuminate when blown into the form of an incandescent bulb, or glass so beautiful it takes your breath away in the form of magnifi­cent crystals.

But it starts with sand — sand that has now ceased to be sand and has instead given over its properties to create something even greater.

Tonight (Today), the Church celebrates the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead and His appearance to the women at the tomb. The resurrection of Jesus, which happened in the early hours of Sunday morning, is a fact which all the evangelists state clearly and unequivocally. Continue reading