Love and Forgiveness

We are all called by God to live a just life following the Laws of God, and I believe the most important, can be summed up in Love and Forgiveness. The laws of The Commandments; “Thou shall not steal, Thou shall not kill… speak of what not to do, and yes, we need to obey. However, they “don’t move us to love more; they just keep us from failing to love.

True love overtakes us and leads us to do more than we ever thought possible of ourselves. We can develop patience, forgiveness and kindness over and over. It allows us to Forget, truly Forget grudges and past wrongs. What God is asking of us, is no more than he is doing for us and our failings.
What are some small ways we can move forward showing our love especially for our neighbors, or those strangers that cross our path every day for a reason? And how can we show it whether they see it or not?

It is a love with patience for someone who doesn’t get it or is incapable of understanding. It is understanding someone who has a different opinion or perspective than we do. It is that act of kindness like holding the door for someone and smiling at them. A few kind words to someone you pass by, as that maybe the only person they have in their life that day to talk too. A compliment to someone you don’t know to make their day, or just a simple thank you. A kind word of “Keep Smiling” that always evokes a surprise and a smile from them. Hopefully, you have made their day!
An easy scripture to remember that you can carry with you all day is ‘You shall love.” (Romans 13:9) Yes, I fail at times, as there are people I have tried to live with what I have noted above. But in a particular case, I have failed for years with a certain neighbor. But, I am still called to keep trying as these situations ring true to me: “Make us know the shortness of life/that we may gain wisdom of the heart.” (Ps. 90:12)

I recently participated in the Year of Mercy by attending the ceremonies and Mass for the relics of St. Maria Goretti. A very moving time and an overwhelming experience of forgiveness. Learning how to forgive and forget. Many miracles of recent times were shared with those in attendance, and in this special time, it was impossible for anyone to leave and not further embrace Love and Forgiveness.
I am noting some very powerful words that speak to Love below by Etty Hillesum:

“There is a passage in the Bible from which I always draw new strength. I think it goes something like: “He that loveth me, let him forsake his father and mother:” Last night I had to struggle again not to be overwhelmed by the pity I had for my parents, since it would paralyze me if I gave in to it. I know that we must not lose ourselves so completely in grief and concern for our families that we have little thought or love left for our neighbors. More and more I tend toward the idea that love for everyone who may cross my path, love for everyone made in God’s image, must rise above love for blood relatives. Please don’t misunderstand me. It may seem unnatural-and I see that it is still far too difficult for me to write about, though so simple to live.”

(Words by Etty Hillesum from Amsterdam, Holland and put to death in Auschwitz.)
And as the time ended with the ceremony for St. Maria Goretti, the Saint Child who shows us how to forgive, a speaker ended on this powerful and reflecting note. For those who pray the Our Father every day, and does not subscribe to forgiveness as we are asked, the speaker said: “I dare you pray for forgiveness; yes I dare you to pray for forgiveness.” As it goes in the Our Father, “give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespasses again us.”

So how do we ask God for forgiveness, when we are not willing to forgive. We will see.

Conor
Find A Way!!

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Novena for the victims at Emanuel AME Church (Charleston, SC)

“Lord, we pray for those who have been debated

by recent tragedies. We remember those who have

lost their loves so suddenly. We hold in our hearts

the families forever changed by grief and loss. Bring

them consolidation and comfort. Surround them with

our prayers for strength. Bless those who have sur-

vivid and heal their memories of trauma and divas-

tation. May they have the courage to face the days

ahead. Help us to respond with generosity in prayer,

in assistance, and in comfort to the best of our ability.

Keep our hearts focused on the needs of all the

community. We ask this in the Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Please pray a novena for the victims of the massacre.

Monsignor Steven Brovey

Conor

Find A Wa

For the willing and unafraid

Prayer of Abandonment.

Father:

I abandon myself into your hands;
do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you:
I am ready for all, I accept all.

Let only your will be done in me,
and in all your creatures –
I wish no more than this, O Lord.

Into your hands I commend my soul:
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.

Charles de Foucauld

Conor
“Find A Way”
________________________________________

“Have no fear of moving into the unknown. Simply step out fearlessly knowing that I am with you, therefore no harm can befall you; all is very, very well. Do this in complete faith and confidence.”

― Pope John Paul II

Faith

Sharing the story

Have you reflected on your life recently to look back, and at the present, and see in honest eyes how you are doing and what you have done? Have you made a difference? Have you tried, changed and improved through your life experiences and maturity? Maybe the help came to you, and not knowing, you think you did it on your own. Have you used all the gifts granted to you or have you been focused on all the gifts and trappings of life for yourself?

Who we are and what makes us our own individual self, is all a gift from God. He expects us to use what has been given and to make a difference, and that comes in many shapes and forms. Can you name the gifts you have been given in this life, and how you are using them? The bigger question though, God has given you so much to make you who you are, so the question to you, what are you going to give back to God for those gifts given to you?

Depending on your belief system, there are different perspectives on end of life. More specifically though, is how are you going to meet judgment day? There are three areas I’d offer you to reflect on:

• Judgment – Our Lord asks you what you have done. Lord I did everything for you. I was honest, did not steal, was a good spouse and raised my kids to know you.” Our Lord asks again, what have you done for me/others? Lord I followed your commandments, made church every week. Again Our Lord asks, “What have you done for me?” I have been faithful to my spouse, never cursed or gossiped. “Yes I understand , but I have given you gifts to help the least of your brethren. Did you feed the hungry? Did you visit the sick and those in need? Did you help the elderly, the poor with their needs, the lonely? Did you not see me there with them? Did you not see me when you looked in their eyes? Did you not only love Me with your heart, mind and soul, but did you not love your neighbor as you would love me? “Those that are given much, more will be given.”

• Freedom – Were you not given your freedom? Did you not have a free will to do as you please? How was that used for others, but also for me? Did I not knock on your front door and you just said no to me. Did I not knock on your door and you just let me in the foyer? Did I knock on your door and you let me in the living room, but not the rest of the house? Is that how you did that to Me as I tried to be in your heart and be with you? Why did you not allow me to be totally in you, be with you always, day and night, and not just on a Sunday for an hour? Yes, I gave you freedom, but why did you lock me out?

• Grace – Did I not give you my grace to help you? Remember those times in need, those dark hours how you yelled out to me? Did I not get you through to the other side? Wasn’t I there when you were not interested in me, ignored me, and in fact forgot about me? Was that a yes? And yes, how about those times you hid things from friends and family, because you knew it was wrong and you felt ashamed. Did I not forgive you? Haven’t I always been there waiting for you? Haven’t I always been waiting to love you? Yes, love you and bring peace and happiness to you. Make you right. Make you a full person, a person you could be proud of and thankful? Make you an image of Me?

What is your answer after reflecting? Me too! Maybe not the time to pray to Him, but speak to Him, all by yourself from the heart. Yes, from the heart! No need to be afraid being alone with Him. God is the one that loves you and is always waiting on you. Always remeber, God Loves You!

Conor
Find A Way!

The World and The Church Today

As I sat in church last week, I happened to look up into the balcony, and then around to the side pews of the church, and it struck me how empty they were this day. My mind immediately drifted off to Christmas when there was standing room only. I have seen this many times before, but then it hit me why I was bothered.

Like most people today, regardless of one’s political beliefs, all are greatly moved by the scenes and stories of the persecutions of Christians and the other minority religious groups in the Mid-East. The genocide started last year in Syria, where 1.2 million Christians have been displaced and 130,000 people have been killed for failing to covert to Islam. Now this violence has spread to Iraq, with the continuation of genocide happening now for Iraq Christians’ and a fairly large religious group called the Yazidis.

The Christians and the Yazidis all have been forced to leave their homes with only what was on their back because of their refusal to convert. The other option facing them if they were unwilling to leave, was death by mass grave killings (either alive or dead), nailed to a cross or beheaded by the sword.

Their churches are being destroyed; papers, books and manuscripts dating back 2000 years are all being burned. Crosses are torned downed and burned, while others are used for crucifixions, while others head’s of those failing to give up their beliefs are paraded around town, photographed and put on the internet for all to see and witness.

Readers of history and those who study the bible could take these current events, and if the time line is unknown to them, could very easily think they were reading something happening 2000 years ago. But no, it is now!

We know how small the world is today, but how does one begin to understand what is happening a plane ride 7-8 hours away? How do we balance those situations with our own situations and our faith and daily lives? How do we reconcile those forced to die, as well as those willing to die for their faith, against the empty pews in church I witnessed last week? Where is the disconnect? Why such an expansive gulf? What don’t we understand, but just as important, what can we do?

“For all those suffering persecution for their faith and the love of you, our hope is in you Lord to find the answers to bring those people to safety and rest in your loving care.

Hear our prayer O Lord.”

Conor
Find a Way!

Through the narrow door

“Strive to enter through the narrow door.”
_Luke 13:24

Striving requires contending with whatever comes our way. Making good out of bad, and becoming a better person. Choosing encouragement instead of criticism. Choosing love rather than disrespect or hatred. We are all challenged with choices, hardships, disappointments, pain and suffering and the weight of our cross. How do we choose to manage this, and what decisions are we making to control all of this in our lives? But also, how do we manage this so we can put the beauty of life in front of our challenges, and enjoy and share the love around us?

It is hard to find those answers when you in the valley rather than on top of the mountain. But being in the valley allows us to get to the mountain as we learn, grow, and develop ourselves by the experiences of the valley. It is in the valley where we learn the important lessons of life.

Prayer should be part of our daily life, but even more so during those difficult times. Prayer, along with our quiet time with God talking from the heart, is the best way to get to the waiting love, strength and understanding of Our Lord.

Reflect on this, as you deal with all the challenges of the narrow door.

_Conor

“Find a Way.”