Archive | February, 2017

The Ultimate Imprisonment

27 Feb

Many years ago, as a lay minister, I regularly visited a Florida prison. I can still see the pain and longing in the eyes of the prisoners there.

Each time as I left the prison, I would look back through the bars and wire. Their anguish was more pronounced. I was free to go. They were not.

This is not to excuse them of their crimes. It is to draw attention to the basic yearning in each and every one of us: that innate desire to be free, to live without pain or regret, to be accepted and loved.

We are all “imprisoned,” in the sense that we yearn for something beyond ourselves. We look here and there and try this or that—to no avail.

To put it simply, we yearn for the highest level of “who I am.” We yearn for the source of life itself. We detest death and want to live forever.

Whether we realize it or not, we yearn for God.

God is eternal.

We are trapped in time.

 

 

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When I Look Upon a Baby

22 Feb

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.

Why?

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.

 

What Evidence Faith?

19 Feb

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
no nourishment,

 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.
(Habakkuk 3:17-18)

OUCH!

A Timely Reminder

14 Feb

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.

Thanks, Susie.

What’s Missing in D.C.?

5 Feb

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.