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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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”
________________________________________

Time with God

We need to take time every day to quiet our many concerns, fears and responsibilities so that we can hear the Spirit’s whisper, oh so gentle in our hearts. “God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather of power and love and self control.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

It is easy to be occupied mentally, to busy physically, to have excellent reasons why “now” is not a convenient time. Still, God is inviting you! He’s worth rearranging your schedule for Him, just as you would cancel all your appointments if you were invited to an important dinner or if you had the chance to meet someone, who you had always hoped you would, and now you get the opportunity.

Pray to God to stir your heart to make the changes and find that quiet time you will never stop or give up, once you have heard that whisper in “your quiet” time.

Conor
Find a way!

Emily the Elephant (MY Christmas Wish)

Emily was a couple of years older than Edward. She knew so much more than Edward and told Edward that every day. I mean everyday! That did not bother Edward though, as he really liked his sister. He loved her and liked following her all around the fields looking for food. He liked meeting all of her friends too. They were so nice to him. Sometimes better than Emily. She could be a mean sister!

One day as Emily was supposed to be watching Edward, she got involved with her elephant friends and lost sight of Edward. He must have wandered away, she thought. She looked around and did not see him. All of a sudden she got scared, as Edward was too young to be out here in the fields all by himself. She thought, “What am I going to do? Where do I start looking for Edward? Oh No! What have I done?

Emily was having so much fun with her friends; she had no idea how long Edward was gone. As often as she told Edward how much more she knew than him, she felt real bad about losing Edward. She became real sad! She was worried! She knows the danger with other animals here in the jungle.

Edward was off running around, and guess what! He found a bunch of puddles and could not wait to get in them. He was having so much fun just rolling around and getting muddy. Boy, did he love being muddy!

Edward did not realize that Emily was not around, because all he was thinking about was rolling in the water and dirt. He loved doing that and he liked filling up his trunk, again and again with water! But then Edward looked around and realized what he did—He walked away from Emily and got so involved with the puddles, that now he doesn’t know where Emily is. He cannot see her anywhere. Oh no! Where am I?

As Edward got up from the mud, he heard noises from other animals that he did not know. It sounded like quite a few animals. He heard elephant yelling too! They were yelling at each other and at the other animals too. What was going on? That is Emily and her friends!! I hear Emily screaming! I got to find her!
Edward started walking slowly towards all the noise he heard in the distance. He then started to run, because he was worried about his sister. What am I’m going to do? I’m scared! Then he remembered what his mother told him after he got in trouble last time with the puddles. She said, “It is ok to be scared. We all get scared sometimes, but we must be brave and always do the right thing. We must always help family and friends, and other animals too that need help. And yes, you always need to listen to what Mom and Dad tell you.”

Edward then started to run even faster now. The noises were louder and he could not stop thinking about Emily. She’s my sister! My sometimes mean sister! He got behind the trees and he could see 3 young lions running around the elephants trying to get one of them alone. They were much faster than the elephants, but the elephants were bigger. It looked like they were trying to get Arnold, my friend, one of the smaller elephants like me.

Edward just watch them trying to figure out what they were going to do next. Edward slipped around the side where there were more trees, so he could get even closer. He knew he had to surprise the lions, so the other elephants could help him chase the lions away.
Edward thought and knew what to do. He was so glad he did what he always loved doing in the puddles. He had filled his trunk up to the top with water. Now, he was ready!

Edward waited for the right moment and then charged the lions. Emily saw Edward, so she charged from the other side towards Edward. The lions were caught in the middle! The lions saw elephants coming at them from all sides. They knew they had to run and get away or they would be hurt.

It worked! The lions left. Emily could not wait to get to Edward and say how sorry she was for not looking after him. She promised that it would never happen again. And she told Edward she was sorry for always telling him she knew more than him. She was wrong. Emily also told Edward, that because of what he did, he saved everyone from getting hurt. Yes Edward, you knew more than me today. I am so proud of you! Thank you for helping and I want you to know, I love my little brother. She put her trunk around his head and gave him a hug!

The elephants all gathered together and started a line to go back home. Edward was feeling pretty good for helping, but it meant so much to him, to hear his sister tell him how much she loves him. Emily means so much to me and I love her too!

Edward now couldn’t wait to get home and tell Mom and Dad what he did.

“Find a way.”
_Conor

Branch 2 *Perfection

Dear Souls,

I write as I once did to no one, and everyone, with God in Mind
and Spirit. The inner sanctum of our souls need to be strengthened
and nourished incessantly………

When you doubt someone’s love for you, you are also considering
your personal worthiness of love. You are asking if you are
adequate of praise and/or deserving.

God loves you because of His Grace and Mercy. He has the
discretionary honor of pardon. He shows us leniency. He is
tender, soft, compassionate and of course righteous. He is the
epitome of all things Good.

He didn’t say He would only love us if we like His favorite colors,
green or blue. He didn’t say He would only love us if we hang our
towel straight, eat all our vegetables, or take the garbage out
every Wednesday night. (smile)

God isn’t waiting for us to be perfect, because He merits
Perfection. Does that mean we can do anything we want? Certainly
not! We are told in 1st Timothy 6:11 to “Pursue righteousness,
Godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.”

*If our God can forgive our imperfection, exemplify us as worthy
of love, and we long for righteousness, couldn’t we do the same for
others?

“You couldn’t relive your life, skipping the awful parts, without losing what made it worthwhile. You had to accept it as a whole–like the world, or the person you loved.”

― Stewart O’Nan

All of Life

The Daffodil Principle

There is a story called, “The Daffodil Principle” that some of you may have heard. A daughter phoned her mother to come and see the daffodils while they were in bloom. Though reluctant to drive two hours, she nevertheless drove through the rain and fog, but was ready to go right back home as soon as it cleared. She relates this story saying, “My daughter asked if I would drive her to the garage to get her car before I left her, but her motive was to take me to see the daffodils, though it irritated me when I realized it.

We reached a small road near a church and when we turned around a bend in the road, there before me, was the most glorious sight I have ever seen. It was if someone had taken a vat and poured it over the mountainside in a cascade of colors. “Who did this?” I asked her. My daughter pointed to a modest house nearby, and on reaching it we saw a poster on the patio headlined—answers to the questions I know you are asking. The first answer is 50,000 bulbs—the second answer—one at a time by one woman, two hands, two feet and the third—began in 1958. This was the daffodil principle.

I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who for fifty years had brought her vision of beauty to an obscure mountainside, one bulb at a time. She had created something of ineffable beauty and inspiration. The “principle” taught me that learning to move toward our goals one step at a time—to love the doing of it, and to use the accumulation of time by multiplying small pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too can accomplish magnificent things and change the world. It makes me sad I said to my daughter, what I might have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five or forty years ago and worked at it one bulb at a time. Just think of what I might have achieved. My daughter in her usual practical way said, “Start tomorrow. It’s so pointless to think of lost hours of yesterdays. The way to make it a lesson of celebration, instead of regrets, is to ask yourself, “How can I put this to use today?”

You all know of Blessed Mother Theresa’s famous words, “God doesn’t ask for success. He asks for faithfulness.” It isn’t necessary to perform great heroic deeds or accomplishments because nothing impresses God. However, God does ask us to use the wonderful gifts and graces He has given us to plant the Kingdom of God within ourselves, others, and the world. One bulb at a time. And these things can be accomplished without great effort on our part in three ways: First, by remembering to give thanks to God every day for the gift of life, and many other gifts of His creation, in some form of prayer. Second, to let our gifts of Faith, Hope and Love—especially Love, be manifested at home, in the workplace and in the world by our thoughts, words, and actions. And finally, never give in to fear, discouragement, or despair for these are the Devil’s tools, and we are children of God who need to understand, that we have to go through Calvary to arrive at Easter, for there is surely no person here who hasn’t or won’t go through some form of Calvary in their life in imitation of our divine Lord.

There is one last thing of which we must be conscious that tie together all of these things and that is TRUST. Placing all our trust in God. He will dispose of all things He sees fit, yet it is His will to dispose them to our benefit. We have to place trust in our loved ones, and in each other, else faith, hope and love become simply words in our vocabulary.

Not everything is always as it seems, and so it is here that trust comes into play. Remember, when our life is completed, there will remain in the end only these three – Faith, Hope, and Love, and the greatest of these is Love. Increase these gifts, place your trust in them and the Kingdom of God is already within you.
From excerpts of Deacon Bob.

Conor
“Find a Way!”