When I see an infant, even when I see a toddler, I experience fascination and a near-inexplicable joy.
What is there about this baby or that one? They are different one from the other: some Asian, African, Hispanic and still others Caucasian. But each one captures my attention.
Is it the baby’s undeniable helplessness?
Could it be that I wonder about the child’s future, about what this one or that one will do with life?
Do I wonder about whom the baby, once grown, will love and will he or she be loved as well?
Yes, all that.
But there is something more—something begging to be embraced and revered.
It is innocence.
It is said that one reads Scripture to find peace of mind or to experience the gentle warmth of God’s embrace.
And that’s good.
But God’s Word can be a challenging wakeup call as well. Pope John XXIII said that God “comforts the disturbed and disturbs the comfortable.”
Recently, after a rather long period of what some call “a dark funk,” I was experiencing great consolation and was truly enjoying and congratulating myself.
Then, in Morning Prayer, came the challenge—and the discomfort of that challenge in Habakkuk:
For though the fig tree blossom not
nor fruit be on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive fail
and the terraces produce
Though the flocks disappear
from the fold
and there be no herd
in the stalls,
Yet will I rejoice in the Lord
and exult in my saving God.
At times, I become somewhat discouraged in my efforts to write things that will encourage and inspire people.
But I shouldn’t really. After spending forty-plus years in the Catholic Press, I should not be surprised when responses to my brilliant messages never or rarely show up.
This past week, when I mentioned I was about to give up writing, Susie, our daughter-in-law, reminded me about something I have always believed but had forgotten or ignored.
She said that if only one person is helped by what I write, that it is worth the effort.
I recalled that many years ago, a man called to tell me that one of my columns in The Florida Catholic newspaper encouraged him and his entire family to return to the Church. The column was on marriage and family.
I realize that if no one else was ever moved by my writings, all my work was worth it for that one wonderful response.
So, maybe my misgivings were due to the fatigue of old age or pride—or both.
Anyway, you folks are stuck with me until our Lord tells me otherwise.
The battle in Washington between the Democrats and Republicans is way beyond ridiculous.
I’ve given some thought to the antagonism and bullying going on and I’ve reached a conclusion.
What’s missing in our national “leaders” is innocence and integrity.
Integrity is not mere honesty. Integrity is the pristine expression of innocence.
Innocence is that marvelous virtue that finds permanent root in total surrender to God.
After all, God knows more than we do about everything.
… you learn a lot.
I was indeed thinking and talking a lot with God. In my eighty-second year I thought I had a lot to talk about–my past, what’s going on or not going on in my life now, and what was I to do with the rest of my life.
After a bit, I began musing about what God may want me to do. I recalled one of my favorite lines in Psalm 46, “Be still and know that I am God.”
So I became still and then the thought came to me: “Maybe I’m supposed just to be and to wait”
Be still. Wait.
Be still and wait and know that I am God.
…Make Me a True Disciple:
- Help me to appreciate the true blessings in my life—family, friends and your unconditional love. Give me true peace in my heart—make my belief in you real and my hope in you unfailing.
- Let your face shine upon me—help me to know you and trust you so much that my heart never breaks and my hope never falters.
- Let your Word and your Sacraments transform me into a true disciple in whom your image is ever humbly present—to my family, fellow parishioners and everyone I meet; and please, never let me know how much you show forth in my life. I am prone to pride, the destroyer of faith and love.
…Help Our Family Grow in Faith and Love:
- Save us from incessant, sense-numbing noise and constant, blaring invitations to triviality—and help us find comfort and joy in your eternal invitation: “Be still and know that I am God” (Ps 46:11a).
- Help all parents to be more confident in discussing you and your love with their children and neighbors.
- Give us the grace and will to have at least one family meal each day—where we show concern and interest in one another and remember that you are at table with us.
- Let all parents recognize that the family table is a reminder of the parish altar where all God’s family shares the most precious meal of all: the feast of his Word and the Eucharist.
…Transform Our Nation and World:
- Give us, your daughters and sons, the strength, courage and grace: 1) to live your Word in the family, at work, in parish life and as citizens of our nation and world; 2) to love those we consider enemies in our daily and national life; and 3) to pray for peace and solidarity among all Americans and all peoples of the world.
- Help us to take care of those who need us—here at home and throughout the world.
- May we be the backbone of faith in our nation and world—your faithful disciples whose trust in you becomes more appealing than all worldly substitutes for joy and peace in life.
- Help all believers to band together in prayer and service making your Gospel truly believable in every part of the world.