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.

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.

Find a way!

Psalm 111:1-2,7-10_Reflection

Psalm 111:1-2,7-10

Praise the LORD. I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart,
in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
Great are the works of the LORD, studied by all who have pleasure in them.
The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy,
they are established for ever and ever,
to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant for ever.
Holy and awesome is his name!
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
a good understanding have all those who practice it. His praise endures for ever!

The Street Sweeper ( The Other Speech)

“What I’m saying to you this morning, my friends, even if it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, go on out and sweep the streets like Michelango painted pictures; sweep streets like Handel and Beethoven composed music; sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry; (Go ahead) sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will have to pause and say,”Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well.”

If you can’t be a pine on the top of the hill

Be a scrub in the valley-but be

The best little scrub on the side of the hill,

Be a bush if you can’t be a tree.

If you can’t be a highway just be a trail

If you can’t be the sun be a star;

It isn’t by the size that you win or fail-

Be the best of whatever you are.

And when you do this, when you do this, you’ve mastered the length of life. (Yes)

This onward path to the end of self-fulfillment is the end of a person’s life. Now don’t stop there, though. You know, alot of people get no further in life than the length. They develop their inner powers; they do their jobs well. But do you know, they try to live as if nobody else lives in the world but themselves? (Yes) And they use everybody as mere tools to get to where they’re going. (Yes) They don’t love anybody but themselves. And the only kind of love that they really have for other people is utilitarian love. You know, they just love people they can use. (Well)

Alot of people never get beyond the first dimension of life. They use other people as mere steps by which they can climb to their goals and ambitions. These people don’t work out well in life. They may go for awhile, they may think they are making it all right, but there is a law. ( OH yeah) They call it the law of gravitation in the physical universe, and it works, it’s final, it’s inexorable: whatever goes up can come down. You shall reap what you sow. (Yeah) And he who goes through life not concerned about others will be a subject, victim of this law.

So I move on and say that it is necessary to add breadth to length. Now the breadth of life is the outward concern for the welfare of others, as I said. (Yeah) And a man has not begun to live until he can rise above the narrow confines of his own individual concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.

Now a lot of people have neglected this third dimension. And you know, the interesting thing is a lot of people neglect it and don’t even know they are neglecting it. They just get involved in other things. And you know, there are two kinds of athesism. Atheism is the theory that there is no God. Now one kind is theoretical kind, where somebody just sits down and starts thinking about it, and they come to a conclusion there is no God. The other kind is a practical atheism, and that kind goes out of living as if there is no God. And you know a lot of people who affirm the existence of God with their lips, and they deny his existence with their lives. (That’s right) You’ve seen these people who have a high blood pressure of creeds and an anemia of deeds. They deny the existence of God with their lives and they just become so involved in other thing. They become so involved in getting a big bank account. (Yeah) They become so involved in getting a beautiful house, which we all should have. They become so involved in getting a beautiful car that they unconsciously just forget about God. (Oh Yeah) There are those who become so involved in looking at the man-made lights of the city that they unconsciously forget to rise up and look at the great cosmic light and think about it-that gets up in the eastern horizon every morning and moves across the sky with a kind of symphony of motion and paints its technicolor across the blue-a light that an can never make. (All right) They become so involved in looking at the skyscraping buildings of the loop of Chicago or the Empire State Building of New York they unconsciously forget to think about the gigantic mountains that kiss the skies as if to bathe their peaks in the lofty blue-something that man could never make. They become so busy busy thinking about radar and their television that they unconsciously forget to think about the stars and bedeck the heavens like swinging lanterns of eternity, those stars that appear to be shiny, silvery pins sticking in the magnificent blue pincushion. They become so involved about man’s progress that they forget to think about the need for God’s power in history. They end up going for days and days not knowiing that God is not with them. (Go ahead)

And I’m here to tell you today that we need God.(Yes) Modern man may know a great deal, but his knowledge does not eliminate God. (Right) And I tell you this morning that God is here to stay. A few theologians are trying to say that God is dead. And I’ve been asking them about it because it disturbs to me to know that God died and I didn’t have a chance to attend the funeral. They haven’t been able to tell me yet the date of his death. They haven’t been able to tell me yet who the coroner was that pronounced him dead. They haven’t been able to tell me yet where he’s buried.

You see, when I think about God, I know his name. He said somewhere, back in the Old Testament, “I want you to go out, Moses, and tell them “I AM” sent you. (That’s right) He said to make it clear, let them know that my last name is the same as my first, “I AM” that “I AM.” Make that clear. “I AM.” And God is the only person in the universe that can say “I AM” and put a period behind it. Each of us sitting here has to say, “I am because of my parents; I am because of certain enviromental conditions; I am because of certain hereditary circumstances; I am because of God.” But God is the only being that can say, “I AM” and stop right here. “I AM that I AM.” And He’s here to stay. Let nobody make us feel that we don’t need God.

“This is the God of the universe. And if you believe in him and worship him, something will happen in your life. You will smile when others around you are crying. This is the power of God.”

_Martin Luther King (Chicago, April 9, 1967)

Judging Others

Judging Others

It is so easy to be critical of others. How often do we do it? Many times we know exactly what we’re doing, and at times, we don’t even realize it. What about the times we may be just sitting around, critical of others, and thinking very little of them. In fact, we are not even giving it a second thought, as we’re in the safety of our home, on the phone, or in the company of a like one. One like me who feeds off of others/me off of them. Just speaking “ill of the absent.”

Our words, actions and thoughts all have consequences, and many times one does not realize the impact or the damage it causes to others. And why do we do it? Haven’t we all been on the end of those criticisms and have we forgotten how it feels, and the pain it can inflict? Many people have lasting pain and hurtful memories that they carry with them always. Is it something you can be proud of? Or do you just feel empowered taking someone down and hurting them? What about what you are doing to yourself? Feel so good about it, you’d have no problem having your actions judged by others or posted on-line or in the local neighborhood paper. Let others see the other side of the real you!

On the other hand, how many times have you written or spoken words of forgiveness or encouragement? Shared warmth or love. Remember that feeling? Remember when you needed help and someone made a difference in your life and you vowed to pass it on, so others would know the difference that others can make.

Have you lent a hand to help to one in need today? Have you shared a kind word, a smile, or held the door for someone in need? Have you taken the time lately to share an extra long hug, a look that says you’re special and mean something to me, or I love you? Remember that feeling when you have reached out and how it made you feel? It put a smile on your face, added something to your walk and gave you a peaceful feeling right in your chest. And yes, maybe you eyes became a “little watery.” Just a little?

We all have choices and we all make decisions. Our decisions have consequences; some immediately and others at the end of our life, regardless of our faith and beliefs. We can change now and know God sees what is in your heart, or you can talk to Him later about it and explain your actions. God is ever so patient, loving and forgiving. He knows you better than yourself; so maybe now might be the time.

So make your choices, and hopefully you want that smile and skip back in your step!