Tag Archive: helping others

Example, What is it?

trust vs worry

What does your life tell others? How do you deal with disappointment? Sorrow? Sickness? Family problems? Oh, there are so many things that can go wrong in our life, they seem almost endless. Do we put up with our problems? Simply tolerate them? Wait for better times? Do our problems cause us to take it out on others? These are a lot of questions waiting for us to answer. How we answer them, however, will tell us so much about our life, and what effect it has on others. For us to grow we must strive to not only understand their implications but what is necessary to overcome them, to utilize them.

There is a mouthful, right there. But, I assure you that that “mouthful” is necessary for us, as human beings, to squarely look at and resolve. We cannot prevent any of these from happening. Who stops death? Who successfully prevents all illnesses or family problems? No one on this earth can do that. So what do we do about them? Every problem that besets us, if not correctable or solvable will cause those helpless feelings to grow inside of us. And that is when we begin to take our problems out on those around us.

What did Christ say about these things? His friend Lazarus was ill and when told about it He simply said, “The sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God”. Even when Lazarus had died and was buried for three days, Jesus tells his followers that all of this was coming about for the glory of God. He went to the tomb and called for Lazarus to come out. The rest of the tale we know. Lazarus came out and Jesus told them to get him some food. This was the same with His death. He would ask for food, after His own Resurrection.

What is He telling us? Is it not that everything that we call evil, or problematic, or causing sorrow is a way to glorify our God? If we let these evils conquer us, if we let them weaken our resolve then we have already lost to them. No one seeks out these problems. No one wants them in their life. But they do happen. They do occur. How we deal with them will be reflected by our demeanor, our attitude, our own sense of purpose.

Jesus is telling us that evil in this world will not destroy us, if we believe in His words, if we follow His example. These disappointments and sorrow and sickness and family problems are actually our fire that tries our steel. Yes, we can let these problems overwhelm us. And, in so doing, we live our lives with attitudes of “poor me” or “why me”. All of us will have these things occur. No one can expect to be excused, or overlooked. When they come about, how we address them will really be what proves us. “The sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God”. Our problems will be our proving ground. Our belief in God, our belief in the words of Jesus will be the strength that we will draw on. In coping with these, in addressing these we will see our attitude change. We will not only tolerate others, but amidst our own suffering we will truly see the sufferings of others and seek to help them.

Isn’t this really, what the world needs right now? It doesn’t need individuals only seeking their own goals, their own needs, or their own comforts. The world is full of these people, already. Sorely lacking however, are people believing in a God, trusting in a God, recognizing that this God loves them with an infinite capacity. This God is asking us to recognize that He loves us, and protects us always. Things that we call problems, difficulties, sorrows and sickness, He calls differently. This God, this infinite God, loves us so tremendously that what we see as being a negative is really His opportunity for us to grow in our trust, our belief and our love of Him. Without that trust, belief and love of Him our problems will continue to invade us. But with them, we will embrace Him that much more and thank Him for this opportunity to give glory and honor to Him. And suddenly man looks to helping others rather than himself. Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.

The 5 Posts directly below, blend with this one. They continue the thought. Thanks for coming:

1) Belief in Jesus
2) Seeing, Believing, Doing
3) Truth. Where Is It
4) What is the Will of God?
5) What To Do About Complaining

Knowing God’s Will

Gods Plan

Yesterday, we spoke about the Will of God. We spoke about it, around it and even how good it is for us. Not once did we speak about the How We Do It!! So, how DO we follow God’s Will? Embrace God’s Will? Automatically, the thought comes to us, “How can I do it, if I don’t even know what it is?” That’s a good argument. So good, in fact, that we will try to discuss just that today, “Knowing God’s Will”.

What is God’s Will for me? For you? We are unique. No two of us are identical, not even twins. They may look alike, they may have many things in common, but each of them is different. Their thoughts, their feelings, their likes and dislikes are not 100% identical. They are different even though they have a common birth. Each of them… has been created by God in a unique fashion, with a unique purpose. And you are no different. You too, are unique. When God created you, He breathed into you a unique spirit, a unique purpose, a unique goal.

So, how do we know God’s purpose for us? How do we discover what it is that makes us unique? How do we discover God’s plan, His purpose, for us? In short, each of us must ask ourselves what is God’s Will for me? Ahh… to know God’s Will we must be in tune with Him. We cannot expect to know what a human being likes and dislikes, if we don’t get to know that person. It is the same with God. We must want to know Him. We must strive to understand Him. We cannot be striving for wealth, material things, and pleasures. Being popular is not the direction God wants us to strive after. All of these things are SELF seeking, SELF serving. It is time to stop looking after our own needs.

Well, then, what is life all about. Many think it is self-survival, self-indulgence. But they (we) are wrong if this is the main thrust of our lives. Did not the Christ say that we are to follow Him? We are to do as He did. And, what did He do, when He walked this earth? He loved people, He took care of people, and He tended to those that needed help. He preached against the self-seeker, the person who sought wealth, and the person who made pleasure/comfort as the most important thing in their life.

Who are you? What makes you tick? When you pray… do you look at yourself and acknowledge your shortcomings? We must truly know ourselves. It is the only way to be honest with God. We are speaking to the Creator of the universe, He knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows when our prayers are shallow. He knows when we really don’t mean what we are saying. And, He still loves us. This doesn’t mean He excuses the shallowness on our part. He just recognizes that we still have a long way to go before we are one with Him.

Every one of us has problems, are shallow, and deceitful. We are not perfect, not even close to being so. It is ONLY when we look at ourselves, acknowledge our shortcomings, and recognize that Christ died because of us, then, (and only then), can we see the uniqueness that God gave us.

In all of our problems, all of our difficulties, all of our good qualities…all of these make us, a unique individual. It is this unique person, with this makeup, that we bring to God and say, “Help me, Lord. Help me love You. Help me grow even with these qualities that you see in me. That I have brought on myself”. God loves us. He has always loved us. He is waiting for us to bring our self to Him, so that He can shower His love on us. He waits for our free will to be joined with His loving Will.

We really need to understand that God’s love for us has existed from all eternity. (God doesn’t change. If He did change, He wouldn’t be God. So His love for us has existed from all eternity.) What does He want for us? God’s Will (plan) for us must be beautiful. God is not evil. If He were, then He wouldn’t be God. (Evil is the lack of goodness. To lack is not possible within an infinite God).

So to deal with the hardships of life, the travesties that fall all around us, we cannot point at God as the cause. His Will is not that these should weigh us down. This loving infinite God, our Creator allows these events to occur not to punish mankind, not to seek out vengeance. The guidelines have been given to us by Jesus. Love people, take care of people, instruct people. These guidelines are done within all the faces of misery in this world, homelessness, death, sickness, poverty, pain and suffering. All mankind suffers. You suffer, and I suffer. Within this suffering, however, we hear our God tell us, to love one another, to bear our pains so that others may see and feel the love of God.

The 5 Posts directly below, blend with this one. They continue the thought. Thanks for coming:

1) What is the Will of God?
2) Be the One
3) God’S Call Of Love
4) God’S Plan For You
5) Who Are You

Our (Lenten) Offerings?

I took my own advice from yesterday’s blog and went to Mass this morning. It has been a long time since I have attended a weekday Mass. Anyway, after kneeling down in the pew, before Mass, I began …absent mindedly… to recite the Act of Contrition. This is a ritual that I always do before the Mass starts. During it, my mind runs over the sins, transgressions, acts of impatience, unkindness, and all the rest of the little shop of horrors of my past life. It is like I am saying to God, “Here I am, and in case you forgot…I am the one that did these things.” Well, this morning, as I was going through my little ritual, a thought popped into my head. Why am I saying I am sorry for all of these things? I am, but I already confessed them. Some, I even confessed multiple times. Christ said, “That once a sin is confessed and forgiven in the sacrament of Reconciliation… it is FORGOTTEN by Him”.

This started me on a new line of thinking, before Mass, today. Do I think that Christ really didn’t forgive me when I confessed these sins? Do I trust Him or don’t I? If I was sorry, which I was, if I intended to not do them again, which I meant at that time (even though I might have slipped up afterwards) … then I was truly forgiven. It is over. This is not a time for moaning and groaning over milk that been spilled and wiped up? Why am I here today, right now? The Mass, the most perfect of prayers, is about to begin. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, his offering of himself up to his heavenly Father for our transgressions will be celebrated once again. What is my part in all of this?

We listen to readings from the Old and New Testaments. We hear about God’s love and tenderness for His people. We hear of Jesus’ life and what it means to us and our relationship with God. We hear the Word of God stream out of the Bible. These are the very words, which we heard a long time ago, and told us that Catholicism, Christianity was something special to us. Something stirred inside our heart.

And so, we hear God’s Word and try to identify some aspect of our own lives to which it has meaning. We then express our own beliefs to all present, when we recite The Creed. And then… The Offertory follows. Unfortunately, we tend to think of it as the “collection”. But it is just this, “The Offertory”, which concerns us most intimately. Without realizing its significance, we think of it as merely, “the Collection”. Believe it or not, the collection is actually symbolic of what the Offertory really is. We take something of our lives and place it in the hands of the celebrant, and together with the bread on the paten and the wine in the chalice is offered to God as our combined sacrifice. This is the moment of truth. This is the time we acknowledge that we need Christ’s action, but would like to offer something of our own as well, imperfect as it is.

So here I am waiting for the beginning of Mass and what am I doing? Recounting past offenses? How much better would it be to think of things positive that I can do today, or this week and offer them as my symbol of my love for Jesus. It can be my thank you to Him. People are people. They are not obstacles, they are suffering, hurting, hoping individuals. “But what can we do?” we ask. We can cry with them. We can offer our hand in friendship to them. We can see their need and help them. And, when we run out of opportunities to assist, we can always pray for them. Who in the Church around us (including ourselves) does not need our prayers? Which leaders of our government do not need our prayers, in today’s topsy-turvy world? Name one country in the world, today, that does not need divine assistance with the handling of its problems. So, there is a lot that we can do. Before Mass, we can try to assess what qualities we have and can use for others. This is a much more positive way to prepare for the divine banquet we are about to attend, than thinking of past offenses. In offering our daily lives as prayer for others, we are saying “Yes” to everything Jesus preached, here on earth. We are putting our life on the paten with the knowlege that coupled with Christ’s life, it will be pleasing to our God

Holy Thursday

The Gospel of today, (John 13, 1-15) recounts the washing of the Disciples feet. The last three verses, pretty much say it all what Jesus is teaching us. “You call me, Master, and Lord: and you say well, for so I am. If I then, being your Lord and Master, have washed your feet: you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that as I have done to you, so you do also.”

The foot is considered by many to be the most ignoble part of the body. It trudges heavily in the dust of the earth. Because of its distance from the hands, it is the hardest to clean. Its sole purpose is to take us from one place to another. Unlike the hand that creates and sculpts, or the tongue that sings and praises, or the eyes that see the wonders of the world, or the ear that hears the birds sing, the foot is our beast of burden. It takes us where we want to go.

To wash another’s foot, their lowliest part of the body, is to show that person that you hold them in higher regard than yourself. What is Jesus telling us, by washing His Disciples feet? This is not what we would call grand-standing. If we know Jesus, nothing He does is just for show. A message is being sent to them… and to us. If He is willing to wash our feet, to suffer and die for us, how are we to regard each other? Who among us is greater than Jesus? Later on in the chapter, Jesus tells them that He has given them a new commandment; they are to love one another as He has loved them.

The last Supper was truly a most memorable event. We are told to treat others with love and respect. We are told to love them as Jesus loves us. It is demonstrated to us to what lengths we should be willing to go for others, even to the extent of washing their feet. This is to let us realize that we cannot put on airs. We cannot look down on anyone, even those that have (in our opinion) made a mess of their lives. Again, we hear Christ’s words admonishing us that he, who is without sin, cast the first stone.

When will we get it? When will we understand that all of us are struggling, all of us have problems or pasts of which we are ashamed. We don’t want anyone to know how ugly we can be, how ugly we have been. Instead, we do everything in our power to appear “normal”, to have people look up to us. Beware of pride. It has taken down many before us. It is so subtle we don’t even realize that it has taken hold of us.

The people that we meet and greet are struggling like us. Don’t look at their clothes. Don’t be judgmental. Don’t wonder about their cleanliness. Look at their eyes. Their eyes are the windows to their soul. They are people, as lonely, as confused, as hurting as you. They are trying, like you, to understand where their lives are going, where it all fits in. Love them. Be kind to them.  We are to love them, all of them, as Jesus has loved us.