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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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