Monday, January 20, 2014

Unknowingly Surrounded by Love

The battery life of his wristwatch had ended, which was the reason the priest let his thoughts wander, giving him enough time to ponder what he would say in his forthcoming article for the Pastoral Bulletin. Not having a working watch, and content to let the clocks in the house tell time for him, he was surprised to see what he hadn't noticed before, that there were a half-dozen clocks in the house keeping time for him.

"Whoa!" was his reaction, he says. It was only because his timepiece was not working that he finally realized how many clocks were in the house, hidden from his unaware gaze and yet ready to give him the time whenever he did look their way. It made him question himself on how much ingratitude existed in his life. The clocks helped him become aware of the many people he needed to thank, and aware of the assistance he has unconsciously been receiving.  Having been aware only of his own abilities, he was forgetful of all the "angels" that have surrounded and helped him throughout his life.

Now, with the end of his watch's battery life, he began to reflect on his own end. The 'tick tock' of his own heart was still sounding, but he began to realize this would not go on forever. Life here on earth was given for a short period of time, a fact he was now acutely aware of,  he says, and he reflects on the meaning this has for him.

Looking back on the past year, he confesses that it filled him with anger and the loss of hope.  Deep down, he admits, there was gratitude and hope, but he still needed to overcome the egotistical thoughts and the tumultuous billows of emotion. As a priest, a member of the Church, of a diocese and a parish, he was stunned by the deterioration of life, but he was willing to take the punishment that came with this confession.

He is at a loss for words in seeing many of the things that happened in his life during the past year. The difference of only one day separates the last year from this year, a single orbit of the earth around the sun. But for most of us, and for him, he acknowledges, it is a big event, allowing us to make a new start, getting rid of what needs to be thrown out. Our mistakes and failures are to be acknowledged and not repeated. If we have been overcome by emotions, if we have said and done what we shouldn't have in the past year, we need to be sorrowful and have the resolve to do better in the new year. This is the first step toward a new way of being and living.

He is convinced that if we do things together there is nothing that can't be achieved. He wants to be more open to others in order to work more closely together. When the problems are great, and trials and agony seem to multiply, it is then that hope shines brightest, strengthening the will to work together with greater fervor. Faith in God, in others and oneself will allow us, he believes, to see the presence of love. And when that happens, when we see the depth and  greatness of God's love, we will be renewed.

He wants the leadership in the Church to become more aware of potential blocks along the way to Jesus.  He has hopes that our political leaders will not be a disappointment to our citizens.  For himself, he hopes that he will not be overcome by emotions and will act with right  reason. And for all of us, he wishes we will find the strength he also will try to attain for himself, of becoming more detached from material goods, stepping out of the swamp of negativity, protectiveness and passivity that all too often smothers our better inclinations when we fail to acknowledge the presence of love that always surrounds us.

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