Thursday, November 12, 2015

Seeing with New Eyes


I can only imagine what it must have been like for Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini to board that boat and sail the ocean to a foreign land. Having grown up in the country of Italy, coming to the America's must have been daunting and unusual, but perhaps a bit exciting as well?  I remember when I first moved to Chicago-land myself.  I packed up all my belongings, at least the ones that would fit in a Geo Tracker and hit the road.  What I was looking for?  Love.  A new start.  A better life, maybe?  That I found and much more. I do remember driving through the city for the first time.  Seeing the massive buildings, the sheer number of people, the construction... and then again the construction... and then there was construction...

I was struck by the sheer enormousness of the country.  I imagine Saint Frances too must have been struck by how large the world really was.  To travel the ocean, and across the country before planes... to see it from wagon or train, or however she travelled.  To see the mountains, the plains, the oceans, the lakes.  How great it all must have seemed, and how small us mere, mortal men.  Our first reading for tomorrow reminds us that all of these things call out to us, they remind us of God and of His enormity. 

The Psalmist reminds us that the very beauty and vastness of the sky itself reminds us of the glory of God.. it calls out to testify to the creator without a voice, without saying a word.  We as Catholics should take time to smell the roses, to admire the beauty of this world.  Travelling to see it, walking with nature, even spending time with other creatures can be a beautiful way of finding the depth and width and breadth of the love of God for us. 

There is a danger though.  We can get so caught up in the natural that we forget to seek that which is supernatural.  The author of Wisdom reminds us that often people never get past the beauty of nature, and instead of worshiping God himself, they get stuck on worshiping the created.  I think that is kind of what we have Jesus talking about in the Gospel.  He reminds us that in the time of Noah and of Lot people were not caught unaware.  The signs were all there.  People were so caught up with their lives, with the pleasures of living, with their own 'self' that they did not hear the voice of God.  They did not hear the warning or listen for God's instruction. 

That is the danger for us today.  We often put life first.  We fill it with the things that make us feel better.   Even our religious life can become so consuming that we don't actually have God in there, but a series of things that make us 'feel' better about ourselves.  We must keep our eyes, our minds and our hearts open to Jesus Christ himself.   How often do you find people these days 'church shopping'?   I didn't like what Father said to me in the confessional, so I found a new priest.  I don't like the way Father preaches, so I went form church to church so I could find one I could stand.  That Priest challenged me, I don't like that.  Father told me I couldn't go through RCIA till I stopped living with my boyfriend or got married to him, so I went to another church and didn't tell that priest.. etc.

Rather, we should be getting ready.  That's what Jesus warns us.  There will come a day, a time that no one can know, no one but the Father.  When that day comes Christ will return and the end of time will be upon us.  Do you realize that is what we are praying for when we say "they kingdom come?"  We are praying that the end of time comes NOW.  Not tomorrow.  Not next week.  Not soon.  Right now!  Come Lord Jesus, come!   Are you ready for that?  Get ready.  Be ready.  Stay ready.   Saint Frances, despite her poor health, gave up her life and even her own will to holy obedience.  She left her birth land and travelled to another land.  She gave up her life.  In the process, she founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart  who served in many schools, homes and hospitals.  She gave it all up, and obtained the ultimate reward; life with Jesus for eternity.  As Jesus said in the gospel,

Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it,
but whoever loses it will save it.

Are you ready?  I have work to do.  Are you with me?

His servant and yours,
In Christ,
Brian