From June 2009 to June 2010, Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI
YEAR OF THE PRIEST!
Journey of Life
In the journey of our life, God is our Source and our Destination, our beginning and our end. At the moment of our Conception, God gives to each of us a body and an immortal soul and He assigns to us a Guardian Angel. Our Guardian Angel guides and protects us until we are safe in Heaven.
From the moment of our Conception, our whole life is a mystical journey, a journey back to God. You will hear me say this a few times tonight. God Created us out of goodness and love for us. He breathed life into us. All life comes from God, which is why all life is so precious! All life is pure gift from God!
It is God’s desire that all of us live in His Will while we are on the earth so that we will spend Eternal Life with Him in Heaven. In all of God’s Creation, human beings are the only living creatures to whom God has given an immortal soul. That means that our soul will never die! Our body will die and turn back to dust, but our soul will live forever.
Our life on earth is like a circle, beginning in God and hopefully through God’s Mercy, ending in Him when through the door of death, we enter a new life, eternity! According to how we live our life on earth will determine where we will go after death. It’s up to us. We have a choice. Both roads are clear. Heaven is real. Hell is real. The choice is ours!
This life is short compared to eternity, like the blink of an eye, even if we live to be one hundred years old. Our life here on earth is only a preparation for our next life in eternity. Where will you spend eternity? Where will I spend eternity?
Jesus came to show us the way. Jesus said, “They will know you are My disciples if you have love one for another.” I did not always understand this Truth as clearly as I do now.
In the beginning God created everything in perfect order. To human beings, God gave us something called free will. He is a gentleman and He will never force us to love Him or to obey Him. Sadly in the Garden of Paradise, our first parents, Adam and Eve were misled by satan and were disobedient to God. They had everything their hearts could desire with no illness or death. Their disobedience brought disorder upon the earth that we still see all around us today.
Throughout the history of mankind, God has called forth ordinary men and women to help guide us to Himself on this journey of life. Abraham comes to my mind, Moses, the Holy Prophets of the Old Testament, even Jonah who tried to run away!! They didn’t all say “yes!” the first time they were called. But God used them to get His message across in spite of their weaknesses. Think about St. Peter, an ORDINARY FISHERMAN OF HIS TIME AND WHAT GOD ACCOMPLISHED THROUGH HIM!! God has always used weak, ordinary souls to do His Work. I believe this is to show the world, to show others that it is Him at work and not the person.
I have come to share my own journey of life with you. To give witness to what God has done and is doing in my life. Our beloved Late Holy Father John Paul II asked us all to be part of the “New Evangelization, the New Springtime” that he saw would sweep over the earth!
My life, like your own has had many mountain tops and deep valleys. God has been working on me for almost 70 years. He still has a lot of work to do. Some of you may already be there, but I am not! We are all called to become holy saints while here on earth. We are not the great Saints of the past. We are not the great Saints of the future. We are called to be and struggle each day to become saints of this moment in time!!
God loves us and He calls us to live in the present moment in fullness! We cannot change the past so why drive ourselves crazy trying or worrying over something that makes no sense. Padre Pio used to say, “Why worry, when you can pray?” This is not always easy to do. We get distracted, we forget!
We get caught up in something that happened years ago and hold on to it. Then we can’t enjoy the present moment and all the goodness and beauty that God gives to us on a daily basis. Or we start to worry about the future and what if this happens or what if that happens??? When we worry too much about the past or the future, we MISS THE PRESENT MOMENT! How can we waste our precious time on such foolishness? God is in control, not us. How can I speak like this? Because I have lived that walk.
I am here to tell you that we cannot change anything or anyone, but ourselves! And that is a lifelong project only done with God’s constant love and care and tons and tons of Grace and the love of the others He has placed around us! Conversion, turning to God at all times and in all things is a daily, on-going process. Some call it Inner Healing. Others would say it’s growing spiritually. Daily Conversion is just what it says! It is a lifetime DAILY work, like a garden.
In a garden, you can pull all the weeds today, water your plants and fertilize them. But go back tomorrow or the next day. Some worm that was hidden in the soil cut your nicest tomato plant or ate those pretty little green beans that were just sprouting. And in a few more days there are more weeds! Sometimes we lose courage and give up on the garden. We say to ourselves, “It’s just not worth all the work.” We decide we will go to the store and buy vegetables. It’s the same if you grow flowers and trees. You can’t just plant them and forget them or you will have no fruit. This is all part of the disorder brought upon the earth by Adam and Eve’s disobedience. We have to work in the garden to have vegetables, flowers and fruit! I have come to realize that my soul is a garden and that Jesus is the gardener. Once I prayed, “O Jesus, make my heart like a freshly tilled garden where You can plant the seeds that You want to grow in me.” Well, when He started to pull the weeds out, ouch! I thought I would die!
As I look at the journey of my life I see God’s Hand in all the events of my life from the time I was a small child until now. Even in the times I turned away from Jesus or did not realize where He was, He was always next to me with His Arms open. Jesus was waiting, filled with love for me, calling me back. His Love is like an ever-flowing refreshing fountain, a rushing river, a cleansing flood always pouring toward us and drawing us into Himself at the same time. Jesus calls and calls each one of us into a personal intimate relationship with Himself. And He promises that when He comes into us He will bring Our Father and the Holy Spirit! The Most Holy Blessed Trinity pursues and calls each one of us.
We are each precious and special to God! We are all on a daily mystical journey in our ordinary life! Each one of us has a special unique mystical journey. We are all given different gifts and talents by the Holy Spirit. God’s Love is the common thread among us. Jesus is not the same kind of gardener that we are. He will not give up on us when He encounters a few sins, weeds, worms or bugs in our soul and life. No! Jesus will never leave us or abandon us. We are all broken, wounded creatures. We are broken and wounded by our own sins and the sins of others.
We are broken and wounded sinners because of own free will, because of the choices that we make and by the circumstances of our life that are beyond our control. We are all part of the disorder on the earth. The disorder has affected our relationship with God and with one another. The disorder causes wars in families and among neighbors and nations.
Jesus calls and calls to us! He comes to us as we are! He uses various means to get our attention. When we finally recognize that He is there constantly knocking on the door of our heart, we all have different reactions to His Call! Some of us hide behind the door, surrounded by the walls of self-protection that we have built through the years! “I don’t want to let anybody in, I might get hurt again! I might have to change the way I’m living! I’m fine just the way I am!” And so on……….Some of us crack the door open a little bit, but the safety chain is still in place. Because of our own wounded ness and sinfulness some of us cannot open the door of our hearts all at once. When we open our hearts and souls to Jesus, He comes in LOVE!
When Jesus comes into you in this deep new way after some time He will gently begin to ask things of you. Each one of us was created, called and chosen by God for His Plan of Salvation and His Purpose. And if we respond totally to His Call He will provide all that is needed to fulfill His Will for our lives. This that I am speaking of is a life long process in a few sentences.
The thing that most amazes me about how God works is that as He is healing us, as He is pulling weeds and removing bugs and worms from our hearts and souls somehow He is using us to help others on their journey! How awesome this gentle Jesus is! He does not wait until we are healed or totally weed-free to use us or He wouldn’t have ANY helpers and servants. None of us is totally healed or free from sin until we reach Heaven. God chooses the time and the place. Sometimes we respond slowly, sometimes we respond quickly. Sometimes we fail Him, sometimes we please Him. Sometimes we don’t understand what He wants of us even when He speaks clearly. He still loves us in the same way. His Love is Patient. His Love is Kind. He does not brood over injuries, nor should we. His Love is CONSTANT, REAL, PURE, EVER FLOWING TO US AND DRAWING US. HIS LOVE IS REFRESHING. HIS LOVE WILL HEAL AND RENEW US. HIS LOVE WILL MAKE GOOD OF EVERYTHING!
Jesus chooses the most ordinary to do the extra-ordinary. Just like He chose simple bread and wine, something the people of His day ate and drank every day. He chose the simple and ordinary to become His Body and Blood. The grains of wheat crushed together become the bread that becomes His Body. The grapes crushed and pressed together become the wine that becomes His Blood. Jesus left Himself to us in this way! He is with us still through the blessed and anointed hands of the Priest! Jesus could have chosen to stay with us another way. He didn’t! In the Will of Our Father, Jesus remains with us still. In the Sacred Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of the Holy Sacrament of Holy Communion we receive Jesus in Fullness. This means that when we receive Holy Communion in the state of Grace, that is without serious unconfessed sin, we start to become like the ONE we receive, Jesus!
Yes we are called to become Jesus’ Body on the earth. We are called to become like Jesus to one another. We are called to be Christ-like with and to one another. Jesus said the Great Commandment is to love God above all things and to love one another with the same Holy Love.
Moses was given Ten Commandments by God for us to obey. They are not 10 suggestions. The first three are concerning our relationship with God. The last seven are concerning our relationship with others. Jesus put all 10 into one Great Commandment. If we all truly loved God and one another all sin, all division, all wars would be wiped off the earth. Wouldn’t that be awesome?
That’s why Jesus came to earth. He came to teach us by word and example. He suffered, died, and was buried and then He ROSE from the dead to open the Gates of Heaven for us. He came to free us from the power that sin and death had over us because of the disorder brought into God’s perfect world by the disobedience of Adam and Eve. Jesus came to earth as a human being, like us in every way except sin! Jesus did not come to lower His Divinity. He came to elevate our humanity! He came to open the Gates of Heaven for us. He came to teach us about the Kingdom of Heaven! Jesus came to teach us how to live and how to love one another. It is so simple! Jesus said, “They will know you are My disciples by the LOVE you have for one another!”
Why is this so hard for us to do? Because we fail to see Jesus in one another! Why can’t we see Jesus in one another? Because we do not look for Jesus in one another! Seeing Jesus in another and LOOKING for Jesus in another are two different things. When we look for Jesus in another, we will see their good. There is good in everyone. The more we look for Jesus in another, the more we will see Him. Sometimes we fail to see Jesus in others because of our own woundedness.
When God allows us to see another’s faults sometimes it is because He wants us to look inside our own souls. What we dislike in another might very well be our own worse fault that we are blind to.
Jesus came to set us free so we can be all that Our Father created us to be. God created us to know Him, to love Him and to serve Him on this earth so that we can be with Him in Paradise for all eternity. To know Him is to love Him. If you truly know God you cannot help but love Him! To serve God is to love others. Yes, we serve God by loving others! This is so simple, yet so profound that we miss it. It is the Great Commandment! “Love God above all things with your whole strength and mind and soul and love one another as I love you!”
God gives us all gifts, different gifts for the same BODY! We, the Church are the Body of Christ! We are the Bride of Christ! He doesn’t give us gifts to keep for ourselves for then they are useless. He gives us gifts to share with one another, for the good of ALL! How hurt must Jesus be when one comes to share a gift with another and the other walks away. Yet we must continue to give and to share our gifts even when others walk away from us. We must remember that some even walked away from Jesus and He is God. And those who walk away Jesus loves them dearly. He loves them so much that he sends us to them. So we go forth and we go on, not for ourselves, but for Jesus!
Journey of Life - a talk by Claire Rose