Tag Archive: Love of others


Pope Francis’ Talk to the World

pope congress

Pope Francis has spoken both to the Congress of the United States, our representatives, and to the United Nations, the representatives to the peoples of the world. Each son or daughter of a given country, like the United States, or of any other nation in the world, each of us, (you and me), we have a mission, a personal and social responsibility. The Pope is not speaking just to the people in Russia, or China, or the state of New York. He is addressing everyone. And, he is not speaking so that we can read a laundry list of “things to do” and then determine to whom it applies. The actions, described by the Pontiff, are ways all of us must seek out to improve our own way of living. Our actions, our lifestyle, will guide us to being concerned human beings. And, in so living, we will help bring change to others in need.

To many groups, Pope Francis holds out hope for a better life, a better world. However, it is not something that will magically appear. We need to open our eyes, the eyes of our heart, to recognize and embrace our struggles and the struggles and efforts of those with whom we come in contact. These may be our family, our friends, our neighbors, our co-workers. They should also include the people who are in need of food, shelter, clothing, safety, clean living, and clean water. To this list should be added, all those who abuse not only alcohol, drugs, but also other people, and children. Their instabilities, their hurts, their confusion play a huge part in their abuse of the world. In short, all people with whom we come in contact, we must look at their heart and see how they are suffering. Everyone is!!! We cannot focus on what they look like, how they act, or how they smell. All of these people heard or will hear the Pope’s message. Is this just going to be one more carrot dangled before their impoverished eyes? It will be, unless each of us strives to fulfill our own personal mission, our own social responsibility.

What is our mission, then? When does mission turn into a social responsibility? Our mission is as unique as we are. Our circumstances, our lives, our cultures, each of these play a part in forming what our mission is. On a global scale, to grow wholesomely as a human being. A concerned, loving human being, that is what forms each person’s mission. Our own personal mission is to view our own individual circumstances, where are we lacking, what do we need. The need that we seek, however, is not material, but spiritual. Do we need that 3rd or 4th TV? Do we need the approval of everyone? Do we strive, at all costs, to be liked by others? What are the things that we have grown accustomed to having, to searching for, to expecting? Look within, at our own heart. What requires adjustment? Are we striving to be a better person? Or, is the status quo acceptable to us? How do we view ALL PEOPLE? Unfortunately, for many of us that view falls into: some we like, some we don’t care about, and, some, we just don’t even want to be near.

Our mission is to uncover what it is about us that could be better…should be better. Oh, I can’t do that. That is too much trouble. This is usually our normal response, as we settle back and play one more game on the IPhone, or change the channel to watch our favorite show. We think we are ok, just as we are. However, other people … well, that is a different story. Look at the goodness of Pope Francis, his smile, his concern for others, his patience, his desire to serve, and still we see no need for us to change. “Well, he is the Pope. He has to be that way.” NO, he doesn’t have to be that way. But, he is that way and he is the Pope. Good people desire to be better. They strive to overcome themselves, to understand themselves. And, in that striving and understanding, they see what they are lacking and want desperately to change.

It is in this remaking of ourselves that we ask God’s assistance, because we cannot do this on our own. It is only through our relationship with God and seeing His Goodness and Love, that we will recognize our failings and our mistakes. God’s arms are extended to us, welcoming us, almost begging us to come into His embrace. It is only through our true acceptance of God’s love, our recognition that everything He has said and done is done for us, then, and only then, can we recognize how closed in on ourselves, we really are. God’s embrace showers His love, His kindness, His concern upon us. His example is for us to go and do likewise to the world around us, the people around us, the family and friends around us. This is our personal mission. But we cannot fulfill it, we cannot embrace others, if we keep hugging only ourselves. God has shown us His embrace encompassing all mankind. “I am the Way”, He says. Let me show you how you are to act with the people you come into contact with. Open your arms and embrace them, and, be concerned about their needs above your own.

TO READ THE ENTIRE TEXT OF POPE FRANCIS ADDRESS TO CONGRESS (click the prior underlined words).

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

1) Our Wake Up Call
2) Triggers In Our Lives
3) Love, Do we have it?
4) Whispers
5) Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus

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A Birthday/Reunion Party

birthday cake

Yesterday, I attended a birthday party…mine. Yes, it was for me and about 17 others. It was, perhaps, the best party I have ever attended in my 75 years of life. Nothing has, nor will, ever touch it. What made this one so special? It wasn’t a surprise party. No, it was arranged by many people. So, it wasn’t a surprise to anyone. It wasn’t even the day any of us were born on. So what made this party so special, or for that matter, a birthday party?

Twenty five years ago, the travel-soccer team that I had coached for six years was disbanding. They were a good team, a very good team. Two years in a row they had won their division championship. I knew they would all make their high school teams. Their days in high school would be consumed with classes, studies, soccer practices and soccer games. What they didn’t need was additional soccer practices or games. Their time would be severely tested, so something had to give. I thought it wise that we break up the team and let them move on to the next phase of their life. Well, that is the background, so what about this party? And, what made it so special. Bringing us back together…that was special.

They would all turn 40 years of age, sometime during this year, so we will have a combination re-union and birthday party. There were close to eighty people at this affair. There were children, spouses, parents and grand-parents. Again, I ask, “What made it so special?” I truly believe that everyone who was at the party was present because of someone else. Someone needed to receive affection, words of love and kindness. Parents were present because their sons were being honored. Wives were present because of their love for their husband. The team was present to honor their coach. And the coach and his wife were present because of their love for the team. There was no thought of self, at this party. If there was, I did not see it. Yes, people wanted to have a good time, but what brought them all there was their affection for someone else. The party was simply beautiful. Memories were shared, and love was in abundance.

Imagine a world where people, every day, looked to other peoples’ needs, tried to anticipate what someone, other than their self, craved for. In short, no thought of what do we need, want, desire, but rather, who needs something that we have, that we can give. I am not talking money, or possessions. What part of ourselves can we give to others? Who really could use our love, our affections, our kindness, our tenderness? Imagine what that world would be like, if everyone thought along these lines!! Wouldn’t it be a joy to live in that world? No thought of self, but only of other. A world where people would look at people not with a thought of taking advantage of that person, but rather, of being attentive to that person’s needs… what would that world be like? Wouldn’t it be like Heaven on earth? That can only happen when all of us start believing in that life style, as individuals.

Here are some other Posts that blend with this one. Continue the thread:

1) To All Mankind
2) God’S Touch In Our Lives
3) The Power Of God
4) Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus
5) Prayer And Reform

Loving Neighbor is Really Loving God

love god and man

The readings in today’s Liturgy are very gut-wrenching and really give us a wake-up call for Lent and the rest of our lives. Leviticus in the Old Testament (Leviticus 19:1-2,11-18) and the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 25:31-46) really spell out for us God’s intentions and expectations for us. They are stated in a matter of fact manner. Their intention is not to scare us, but to simply inform us of what God wishes from each of us. Do yourself an eternal favor and read each of these, today. ((Click on underlined Bible reference above, and you will be taken to passage.))

The laws of the Old Testament, though mentioned throughout the Bible, are specifically contained in the Book of Levi (Leviticus). This particular passage depicts the giving of the Ten Commandments to Moses. “The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and thou shalt say to them: Be ye holy, because I, the Lord your God, am holy.” In the following passages verses (11 through 18) it then goes on, in a very clear manner, explaining why each must be done according to God’s Will. The passage then ends with the statement, “…but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.” In these 8 statements, eleven through eighteen, we see the words “I AM THE LORD” four times. God is telling us loud and clear, the reason that we must adhere to these Commandments is because He is the Lord of all.

Matthew precedes today’s Gospel, with two other parables. The first parable speaks of the 5 wise and 5 foolish virgins. Five were prepared and had oil for their lamps, and five were not prepared. Prepared for what? They were not prepared for the coming of the bridegroom. The custom was that virgins would greet the bride, with lamps lit, as she was accompanied to the house by the bridegroom. The second parable that precedes today’s Gospel, is the one in which the master of the house gave talents to his servants. To those servants that utilized these talents and doubled them they were rewarded. To the servant that buried his talent and did not let it grow, he was punished.

And so, we come to today’s Gospel, describing the end of the world, judgment day. The Son of Man sets the sheep on his right and the goats on the left. To those on his right, He tells them that He was hungry and they gave him food; He was naked and they clothed him; He was thirsty and they gave him drink; He was sick or in prison and they came and visited him. “When…when did we do this”, they ask. And His response: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.” Like the virgins their lamps were prepared, they had “oil” for their lamps. Like the servants they utilized their talents and grew in the love of God and neighbor.

Next, he turns to the goats on His left. He tells them that they didn’t give him food; they didn’t clothe him; they didn’t give him to drink; they didn’t visit him. “We didn’t see you. When did we not do this for you?” His reply, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.” And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

What these powerful readings are telling us is that WE are all brothers and sisters. Our concern, our love, our protection of others is how we treat our God. His words: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.” Our Lent, no…our LIVES, must be one of loving concern for our fellow man. We cannot continue to look upon people as bothersome, ignorant, unfaithful, or degraded. The moment we measure people against ourselves, our way of living, our standards, at that moment we set ourselves up as a judge. ((Judge not and ye shall not be judged.)) Look at the people you meet today who, just like yourself, have problems which they desperately want to be rid of. Jesus isn’t telling us to cure the sick, to free the imprisoned. He is simply saying visit Him in the sick, and the imprisoned. Give to people what you can of YOURSELF. See them as your brothers and sisters who also hurt, as you do, and who suffer and feel the pain, as you do. They are no different from you. And you are no different from them. We, ALL, have our share of problems. When we see ourselves, as the only ones with problems, we shut out of our lives the suffering Christ, who so deeply wants to be with us. Love your neighbor, and you will Love Jesus. We cannot cut out the middleman.

Here are some other Posts that blend with this one. Continue the thread:

1) To All Mankind
2) Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus
3) About Us
4) Are You Loved? Do You Love?
5) Our Wake Up Call

ARE YOU LOVED? DO YOU LOVE?

Love God and Man

If you enjoyed this post, the thread is continued in the posts listed below in yellow. They continue the thread. And Please pass this on to those you love.

How do we know we are loved? Truly loved? That is a difficult question to answer. It isn’t difficult because of what we are asking ourselves, but rather, because it is our self that we are asking. The question is straightforward enough. But we can conjure up all kinds of answers, and explanations that lead us down paths that only we can imagine.

Let’s look back to our parents, or friends that we grew up with. Think of people we have hurt and offended. This is where the question will be answered. For you see, true love always forgives. Love does not look at the offense to self, but rather at the person who is struggling, who is doing the offending. We see the love of mom cradling us in her arms, when we have fallen and cut or scraped our knees. We see the sorrowful pain in her silent eyes when we express our anger or discontent and know we have hurt a loving parent. It is our friends that say to us sincerely, “That’s alright I know you didn’t mean it.” They show us love. It is eventually our own failures, our own problems that lead us to the awareness of who loves us.

God’s love is exactly the same way. He has created each of us with a purpose in mind. How many billions of people have not been born into this world, and yet we were. Why us? What is special about us, you and me? We really cannot answer that. We won’t know the answer, nor even understand the question until we meet God face to face. Then we will be shown why we were created and what gifts were given to us. At that point we will know what we could have or should have done in this life, and maybe, even if we will have done it. We really won’t know until that final moment of understanding. We all cringe at the thought that maybe we have run out of time.

But, this writing is not meant to be a scare tactic to awaken us out of our lethargy, nor a shaking of our shoulders to wake up. No. It is truly meant to be a positive moment in our lives. For you see, each of us already knows why we were created. We already know what our purpose in life is. The Bible tells us in Jesus’ words, “For whatever you do to the least of these, you do to me.” There it is: our purpose, our goal, our act of love back to God. He is in each of us. He breathed His Spirit into us, all of us. He knows our problems, our worries, our hurts, dislikes, and unkindness. He knows our thoughts, our sinful thoughts, our demeaning actions, and yet He loves us! He loves us in spite of our selfishness. What manner of God is this? He is waiting for the light to go on inside our heart, not our brain, for it is in our heart where His love resides. When that light does go on, we will understand what is special about us, what talents we have been given. These talents are what we will bring to others… OUT OF LOVE and caring.

For whatever we do to the least, we do to Him! We are to see Him in everyone we pass on the street. Every person who seems to have a health problem, a moral problem, a cleanliness problem, an agonizing problem, an irritating problem…the list is endless. Too often we see the problem and not the person suffering. If we look into the eyes of these people we will see a suffering Christ waiting for a response, maybe it is our response?? How do we know that it is us, that we are the one to do something? We really don’t. But how can we give our love back to God if we do nothing but look away? What are we inclined to do? What, inside us, urges us to act? What would we like to do? It takes courage to be a Christian. We must lose our own inhibitions. Start to look at people, for what they really are, as persons who just might need our talents, as God asking you to return the gift of your talents back to Him.

It is not a grandiose action that is being asked of us. No, it is nothing like that. It is simply a kind act, a loving act, a caring and concerned action. To extend one’s hand to someone in need, in an offering of help, of true concern, of love can lead to all sorts of things. These might be involvement with others, empathy for others, even a deeper love for others. And in this, we give our love back to God. To do nothing is …

Here are some other Posts that blend with this one. Continue the thread:

1) Triggers in Our Lives
2) Why are you, ..you?
3) About Us
4) Our Purpose in Life

About US

JMstreet4

Put yourself into this short story. Seriously, this is about YOU, the reader. Actually, it is about all of us, but read this as if these are your thoughts

I am walking down the street. It is cold, oh so bitterly cold. I can’t wait to get inside where it will be warm and I will feel my toes once again. I quicken my pace, just to get to my destination a little sooner. As I hurriedly walk, I notice a man and a woman standing on the corner. The man is strangely dressed, as a matter of fact, both persons are. They have sandals on their feet, with no socks. They are both wearing a robe, or is it a gown, with a rope tied around their waists. The man, the younger of the two, is gentle with the older woman. She is probably his mother. They look at me with sadness in their eyes. And yet, a feeling of affection cascades over me. I turned my head for a brief moment in the direction of a loud noise and when I look back, they are no longer there. They have moved on, I guess.

As I move down the block, passing stores and row homes, I see an old man crouched along the wall, with a piece of cardboard shielding him from the cold wind. As I get closer, I see that the man’s face is the same as the man I saw standing on the corner. It couldn’t be!! This man was filthy, and his clothes were torn and dirty. I couldn’t help notice the smell of urine as I passed by him. I distinctly remember thinking disgustedly, “Somebody should help this guy”.

Recovering from that bit of unpleasantness, I quickened my gait. I couldn’t get home fast enough. As I turned the corner, two men were fighting with each other as a young woman stood idly by, watching them. I could tell that the disagreement was about the woman, but I don’t know what it was about. I looked back and muttered to myself, “This generation has gone crazy. This world is crazy. When are the politicians going to do something about it?”

Just then, breaking into my discussion with myself, a young girl, no more than fifteen, approached me and asked me for some money. She seemed normal enough and you could tell already that she was with child. I don’t like giving people money on the street. I fear that they might be using it for drugs or something like that. Her circumstances seemed unique, so I fumbled in my pockets for some loose change. I was about to hand it to her, when she said, “THAT won’t be enough for an abortion!” I hurried off, embarrassed and feeling guilty, like I needed a place to hide.

Now, in the warmth of my home, I sit down with a cup of coffee and start to browse through today’s newspaper. The headlines and cover stories are enough to make anyone cringe. They read like a bad dream: Countries angrily positioned at arms’ length with each other, Terrorists attacking people in the name of religion, Wall Street fraud, People shooting others. Money and the gain of it, seems to be behind so much evil. Even the Sports section which always spoke of man’s accomplishments, here now, I read about sports figures taking enhancing drugs, seeking illicit ways to excel on the sports field, shooting people and beating their wives. Again, I utter to myself, “The world is going to hell in a hand basket”.

There is so much horror and terror in this world. And yet the only normal, peaceful sight I had today was the man and woman standing on the corner, looking at me. The words of Jesus ring out loud and clear to all of us, to me. “Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in, naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me. When did we do this, Lord? And He shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.

I can, no longer, sit idly by watching the world from afar. If I am a Catholic Christian, then I must look at the world and consider my part in it, my responsibility to it. Yes, the terrorists, at this moment, are attacking other countries, but they have and will attack us, as well. I am the Somebody that should help this guy. I cannot rest all responsibility on the politicians of this world. I must have some active part, as well. Abortion IS wrong. How can I play a part in showing the world the beauty of, the sanctity of life? I hear of terroristic actions and I am grateful it doesn’t affect me, or my country. Too many guns, excessive craving for money, inordinate financial security, succeed at all costs regardless of the consequences, inappropriate movies, or conduct…these are all things I have an opinion of, I know right from wrong. When will I speak up about it?

The couple on the corner, they look at me and wonder when I will speak, when I will act, when I will show my love to my God. As long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me. This short story is about me……is about you.

Here are some other Posts that blend with this one. Continue the thread:

1) Where Do We Find Truth
2) Jesus Walked Down the Street
3) Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus
4) Masks, We Hide Behind

veronica

We are about to celebrate the birth of Jesus. So, why are we talking about Veronica and the sixth station of the cross? Birth of anyone is a happy occasion. So how much more joyful is the Birth of the Savior of the world? However, in this time of joy, it is very pertinent to think about Veronica and her actions as Jesus struggled along the sorrowful way.

Jesus came into this world for one purpose, the salvation of mankind. In six more days we will be singing hymns of joy, thinking back to the time of Jesus. We will ponder the hardship and struggle that Mary and Joseph had to deal with to arrive at Bethlehem. But we just cannot pass that off as a small part in the Nativity story. Ask any mother who has given birth, and I believe they will tell you that riding on a mule, for eighty or so miles during pregnancy, is not something very joyful.

Jesus came into this world to save us, to show us how to live, to show us how to treat others… how to love our God, and each other. His purpose cannot be any clearer than that. So what does this mean to us? How does our life differ because He came? How does our world react, since He entered into it? Nice story! Nice presents! A time to be happy…at least for a little while! And then, back to the old grind stone? Back to the old same old, same old?

That is not true. That cannot be the answer. Think about Veronica and her action of wiping the face of Jesus along the via dolorosa.  As an early believer, she didn’t have the luxury of 2000 years of philosophers, and theologians discussing the every why and wherefore of Jesus’ life. She heard his message. “Love your fellow man. Treat them with love”. “Love your God, by treating everyone with love”. How simple. How straightforward. How challenging.

Many times we think, “What does God want me to do”? Or, “What should I be doing with my life?” Those moments, sadly, are few and far between. More often, we think of what it is that we need. What is it that makes us happy, sad, comfortable, or uneasy? And then we take the necessary steps to either enforce, and prolong the good, or strive to rid ourselves of the bad.

Veronica heard the message either directly from the Master’s lips or from one of His early followers. She heard it and believed: Love your fellow man. She believed it so much that she pushed through the crowd just to wipe the sweat and blood from the face of Jesus. No one told her that this is what she must do. No one said, “You, go do it.” She knew and believed the message of Jesus. She knew He really meant it when He said, “Love one another.” So, she used her veil to wipe His face. He was suffering. And, this was something that she could do to help Him.

We seem to be waiting for someone to tap us on the shoulder to tell us what we should do, what would be good for us to do, and when we should do it. However, no one is going to beat us over the head telling us when and what to do. If you believe that Jesus really said, “Love one another”, then we have already been told.. Ah… but that is so difficult, isn’t it? Love everybody? Everybody?? I am to love even the person who dislikes me, persecutes me, or ignores me? Everyone!

What does that mean? How do I love others? Start looking at their needs, and see what can help them with their problems? Can I alleviate their problems? Do they need a friend? Are they looking for a shoulder to cry on? The list is endless. It varies with every person that we encounter. But in order to do that, we have to stop embracing ourselves. We have to stop looking out for NUMBER ONE. Forget your needs and truly see others’ struggles, hurts and tears. Love is being aware of others’ problems and seeing what, if anything, we can do to lend a hand. Veronica saw the sweat and blood, on the face of Jesus, and did what she could do to comfort Him. Do we provide comfort to others? Do we try to understand their difficulties? Or, are we so wrapped up with our own problems, our own needs that we truly are unaware of the sorrows and trials of those around us? This Christmas, try being a Veronica to others. Not because it seems like the right thing to do, but because a person needs your love, your loving concern. Love the infant Jesus, by loving one another.

Here are some other Posts that blend with this one. Continue the thread:

1) Where Do We Find Truth
2) Jesus Walked Down the Street
3) Trust in God vs Fear to Relinquish Control
4) People or Objects