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by Matthew Kelly
Everybody Needs to Forgive Somebody
by Father Bob Sherry
by Melissa, Fort Myers, FL
Meggie, Walter, Isabel, and I have enjoyed welcoming Harry into the world, and that has had me thinking a lot about hospitality. Hospitality, the art of welcome, has been at the core of Christianity from the very beginning.
Most people take great pride in welcoming people into their home for a meal or to stay for a few days. But I have been wondering how can we translate that into our parishes.
For far too many people, even for many who attend Mass on Sunday, Catholicism is an anonymous experience. They come and go from church on Sunday, nobody says hello or goodbye, nobody tries to involved or engage them a little more.
From this anonymous position it is easy to drift away from the Church. If nobody acknowledges that you are there then it is easy to believe that nobody will notice if you are not there.
This month I want to challenge you to become even more a people of welcome. When people come to your home, give them an experience of hospitality that is world-class and like they have never experienced. This is a very real and practical way to demonstrate God's love for our guests. And in our parishes, let's spend time, effort, and resources working out how to become a people of welcome.
I am writing this the night before my surgery and I want to thank everyone for their prayers and support. Your cards and emails have been overwhelming. Please know that I am grateful.
For Millie, the hardest part was to forgive herself. That has taken a few years. Her husband’s forgiveness, inspired by the forgiveness of God, opened the door and a path to a restored relationship and a unified future together as a family.
— From “Everybody Needs to Forgive Somebody” by Dr. Allen Hunt
Revolutions take place because people want freedom. Today and all days I wake up and declare war. I declare war on the authorities that have caused so many Americans to become slaves. I declare war on the unseen principalities that are destroying the lives of those around me. Our revolution is not a war against a tyrannical government, but rather one against sin and Satan and all of his empty promises.
The war we wage is war against the materialism that consumes the hearts of men. It is a war against the relativism that declares that there are no moral truths. It is a war against the pluralism that declares there is no one religion that possesses the fullness of truth. It is a war against individualism in which selfishness and egotism reign as god. It is a revolution against the culture of death that promotes abortion and contraception as good, seeking selfishness over the dignity of every human life. It is a war against all the social injustices of our times: racism, sexism, slavery, and on and on.
To be a Christian is to be a warrior. To be a Christian is to be a fighter. Saint John Chrysostom accurately said, “We are baptized in order to fight!” It is time you and I start fighting. It is time you and I start a revolution.
Why are some people so self-confident and assured? While other folks seem confused about many things, have trouble making decisions. Which one is you? Which would you rather be: sharp and clear, or worried and insecure?
What makes the difference? I think it goes to what an old philosopher said centuries ago: "Know thyself." And while there are many books that want to tell us who we are, and there are many tests we can take to determine our talents, there is nothing as insightful as our own heart: listening to our own heart. In silence, before God. Which we call prayer or meditation.
You might not see the results right away. But if you take ten to fifteen minutes a day in silent prayer for thirty to forty days, you will be amazed. Because you will have listened to your inner voice (God), you will emerge one day and see that you have become a new person. A person more aware of your self, your values, and your priorities.
You can find time to stop daily for your coffee break, or getting gas. Take time to know yourself (as God sees you.)
OK, at first you'll say "this is dull; nothing happens." Well, like the seed you may have planted, for the first several days, nothing. Then, miraculously, the new life starts to polk thru the soil. Amazing! Same for you.
Yea, you could do Yoga or Zen. But because it is God who created you, God who knows you best, God wants to help you Know Thyself. The true Master Architect who designed you, will be with you in your silence to unveil the real you.
Hang in there for 30-40 days. Then let me know who you are.
So easily in life, we get caught up in the moment. We tend to stress so much about the now, our problems, our struggles and the ever-changing chaos of our day, that we forget to think about our sole purpose, our reason for living and Who gave us this gift to begin with.
Over the past year, I found myself being so preoccupied with work, school, my child and my social life that I was avoiding and ignoring the one thing I needed more than anything else, the Lord. I’m not a perfect person, I’m far from it. I’ve come in and out of consciousness with my standing as a Catholic. Yet lately, I’ve been failing miserably - that is - until I was given the Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic after Easter Mass. I am currently in the process of reading this book and it’s truly touched my life. I knew I was slipping away from my faith and I definitely was not being the type of Catholic that I’d want anyone to follow.
The “4 Signs” made me reconsider my priorities. All of the steps are so easy to conform to with just a little extra attention on our actions.
Step one is Prayer. My excuse was always "Oh, well, I really don’t know how to pray." I feel like my prayers are not worthy, or I’m just too busy. But it’s funny, the happiest times in my life were always the ones in which I had a strong connection with God, and I had consistent conversations with Him. He is the friend you cannot see, but whose presence is always there. Praying allows me to vent my problems, trust in Him, and ask for His guidance. I feel like I’m not walking alone through my problems but being led through, and eventually out of the darkness.
Next is Study. With anything in life, if you don’t study, you’ll never master a topic. Again, I was getting so caught up in the everyday busyness, studying things that in the end are meaningless. I never knew what the meaning of being a Catholic was, why I should be proud, why I should want to share such a beautiful religion with others - what sets us apart. What can I do to make us, my parish, and my community better? This all falls into evangelization, and generosity too. It’s easy to get caught up in the materialistic things in this world. I admit, I’ve had my shallow moments. I would buy a $75 shirt but make an excuse why I didn’t have a few bucks to throw into the basket come Sunday morning. It all boils down to what you make a priority and how bad you’re willing to try, what you’re willing to let go of, and having the strength to not give up. My life hasn’t always been smooth sailing, but being a Catholic and having God by my side has always helped me push through. His forgiveness is unconditional, as is His love. Reading “4 Signs” has inspired me to become a better Catholic, choose my priorities a little better and truly try to become one of the 7%.
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Making time for each other isn’t that difficult if you think about how to anchor the time around already established routines at home.
Life is short, and the holidays fly by. Don’t waste this time texting your friends about how crazy your family is making you (even if it’s true). Do your best to be present to them, seek to understand and to love.
Waking up early is a war. It is a battle against the self. You are your enemy. And there is only one way to win the war: Discipline.
When you choose to be the-best-version-of-yourself, when you exercise virtue and strength of character, you impact the world more than you will ever know.