Sunday, March 26, 2017

Striving For The Ideal

A priest writing in a pastoral bulletin for clergy mentions an incident on a trip to an island some years ago. A grandmother was carrying a heavy load and would put it down every few steps. He saw it all and in his own mind the thought was present to help the woman but no movement of the feet. A woman behind him ran up ahead to help the grandmother and took one of the packages.

Why seeing the woman's difficulty did he not offer to help? Why didn't the heart and body move? He is always talking about love but those who are less concerned with talk are often more sensitive to the needs of others. He reminds us of the famous words: "the greatest distance in travel is from the head to the heart and the heart to the feet."

Associating for the most part with people with leisure he is not close to the poor consequently the motivation to help is missing.

The famous Russian novelist Tolstoy and his wife Sophia had 13 children. His wife mentions in her writings that he wrote often and eloquently about the love of Jesus and thought a great deal about it but it was not practiced in his life.

Living with high ideals and to feel the love in the heart is important so we read the Scriptures, spiritual books and listen to talks and mistake this for actual acts of love in our lives and think that we are doing much.

He is now up in age, has traveled much but most of what he has learned has stayed in the head. When he sees the acts of others and their concern for others he is moved but making a decision and carrying it out correctly is not easy.

Helping others is important but the way they are helped is also important. Giving of money is not always the best way to help. If a person is not helped to be strong in heart they may be hurt by the help given. He feels that to help the movements that are concerned for the poor may be wiser.

As an individual, he has no reason with his personal history, appearance, or way of life to receive the respect and love of others, his position in the church, his priesthood has made all the difference.  Actually,  not only his priesthood but also all those who have lived the priestly life in a sacrificial way and have moved the hearts of many has influenced the way many see him. To repay what has been received is to live in the manner that they did.

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