How will you be remembered

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How will you be remembered after you are gone? I started asking myself this question last night after I learned of the death of a classmate of mine. He was a patient at the nursing home where my better half works and she told me when I got home. Now I admit he and I weren’t close and I had lost touch with him after graduation until I learned he was one of Tonya’s patients, but anytime someone close to my age passes it bothers me. But there was something more that bothered me more than that.

As I said I had pretty lost touch with him after graduation so I have no idea what kind of person he may have been. I don’t know what kind of demons he may have had or what kind of problems. All that Tonya had to say was that he “was an old and miserable man and hopefully he will find some kind of peace now.”  Is this how you will be remembered? Is this how you want to be remembered? Is this how my classmate wanted to be remembered?

In today’s world we have our priorities so messed up, we think only of what is in it for us. We have become so busy trying to make a living that we forget to live. (I know that isn’t original but I won’t tell if you don’t.) And we certainly don’t live the way God wants us to. Instead of treating each other with respect, instead of treating others as we ourselves wish to be treated, we attack one another over stupid, mindless, unimportant things. When someone doesn’t agree with us, we vilify them instead of sitting down and having a rational and calm discussion.

Since I last wrote here back in August, we have suffered through an agonizing presidential campaign. There were vicious attacks from all sides of the political spectrum. And now after four months, it hasn’t stopped. Both sides are still fighting, one side attacks the other without mercy, and nothing gets done. I will be the first to admit that I was extremely surprised at the results of the election, I never thought the Clinton machine would be brought down, but it was and now the same people who gloated for the last eight years and preached to the other side about how we must all get along and not be sore losers are the loudest voices. If the results had been different and the loser was the winner, it would be no different. We live in a world full of hate and violence. We are in a world where there is an ism for everyone, everyone is labeled, everyone shouts and no one listens. And this is exactly what Satan is after.

Can you imagine if we all lived the words of today’s gospel here on the Seventh Sunday of Ordinary time?

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on [your] right cheek, turn the other one to him as well. If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand him your cloak as well.
Should anyone press you into service for one mile,* go with him for two miles. Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors* do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? – Matthew 5:38 – 48

Maybe if enough of us remember this passage we could actually make progress towards a better world for all of us? Okay, now that I have wandered off from my original theme, how can I get this back to how do you want to be remembered?

Maybe if we follow the advice from the cited gospel we would be remembered as someone who always treated others with respect, kindness, love and generosity. Maybe if we stored up our treasures in heaven rather than here on earth we would be remembered differently.

As I said, I had lost track of my high school friend, I don’t know what kind of life he led, what he was like, all I know is what Tonya said about him, and that is how she will remember him.

Is that how you want others to remember you?

I realize it has been some time since I have written here (or anywhere for that matter) but the last few months have been pretty busy. We have moved and really started over. We have downsized and have never been happier.And I owe it all to God.

Keeping Watch – Luke 12:35

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I certainly don’t claim to be a biblical scholar, and I certainly am not a theologian (I can’t even pronounce it), I am just a layperson who sees how God has worked in my life. When I began my journey one of the many things I learned was that every time you read a passage of scripture for the second third of more time, you will learn something new. The latest of these is Luke 12:35 – 40.

This is the parable where Jesus tells the story of the master who has gone to a wedding feast and the servants are charged to stay awake and await his return especially if he returns after dark. In the time of Jesus, there were only locks on the inside of doors, probably a sliding bar of some sort. Once this bar was in place the door could only be opened from the inside. It was up to the servants to listen and know the sound of the master’s voice, even his footsteps to ensure they didn’t open the door for anyone but him.

Most people interpret this parable, correctly I might add, that it means we must be ever vigilant to hear when Jesus comes to our door at the end of time and invites us to come with him. If we don’t open the door for him, we will be left behind. Jesus isn’t going to open the door himself, he isn’t going to wait for us, he will move on. He can’t open the door, we must open it for him. We need to know when he is there.

The last time I read this passage, actually last Sunday since it was the Gospel reading, I was struck with another thought. Couldn’t this also mean we need to be as vigilant to not open the door for the wrong person, i.e. Satan? Isn’t he trying to get into our door as well?  We need to be as, if not more, attentive to who is at the door before we open it.

But here is the problem, there is so much noise around us in today’s world, we can’t always hear. We are surrounded by noise, noise of all kinds, from all directions, from all sorts of devices. When was the last time you were actually immersed in complete quiet? No television, no cell phone, no computer. It’s probably been awhile. This is exactly what Satan wants from us, to be surrounded by noise. When we are, we can’t hear God talking to us. The saying “Out of sight, out of mind” comes to mind. When we can’t hear God, we forget about Him. We put Him away somewhere and wonder where He is later when something happens. Just like the Evil One wants.

I was never one who listened for God. It wasn’t until I fell off that truck and really started thinking about things that I realized that He had been talking to me all my life, I just never listened. I didn’t know who was knocking at my door. I didn’t know who I was letting in and who I was keeping out. Now I do.

Let me share a quick example as to how I have done this. The last job I had, I would always let myself be dragged into the negativity, gossiping and back-biting that was a daily occurrence. At my new job, this still goes on, and at a higher level than at the last one, but the difference is now I don’t let myself be dragged into it. I don’t and won’t participate no matter how much others will try to get me to. I know who is knocking and I don’t answer the door.

Take the time to listen. Listen for God, listen to God. Take some quiet time to learn what He looks like and what He sounds like. Learn to differentiate between Him and Satan. He is out there. Once you shut out all the noise, you will find Him. I have and so can you.

Narrow Paths and New Beginnings

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For the past few months, I have been undergoing some transitions in my life. Since about January I have been preparing to move from the house we have lived in for the past 15 years, and the house that could be considered an ancestral home of sorts as it has been in the family for about 100 years, and moving to a new place back where it all began. (You can read more about that here if you would like)

We are settled into the new place now and I am trying to make a decision on whether I want to change parishes. I have been regularly attending St. Anne’s Parish in Sturbridge since returning to church and have been a member there since first moving to Sturbridge in 1980 something. But now I am living in the place that I have always considered to be my hometown, Southbridge, and am closer to my old parish, Saint John Paul II Parish, formerly known as Notre Dame Parish, the parish in which I received all the sacraments in (except the last one as I think I am still alive) and have been gravitating back to this one.

I guess if I rejoin this parish, I will be a new member of my old parish? Or would I be an old member of my new parish? Although, since technically it isn’t the old parish, but a new parish, would I be a new member of a new parish?

I have always had a problem with feeling like I belonged anywhere, whether it was at school, in church, in the community, which is why even after moving from here to there, I always felt like this was still my hometown. I think this all goes back to an incident in my youth when I was left tied under a porch while the rest of the family went to frolick and play up at the same place I just moved from. But that is a blog post for another time. I have always had a difficult time making friends and fitting in with others in the past and am not sure going to a new parish will make any difference.

But alas, enough of that. What I really want to talk about is this: I have been able to turn my life around in the last few years, ever since the day I fell off the back of that tow truck. I can see the difference that trusting in the Lord has made in my life. I have had some pretty low times in the past years, and it wasn’t until I finally gave in and said “Lord, my life is in your hands now” that things really began to turn around for me. I stopped worrying about what happened yesterday, and I stopped worrying about what will happen tomorrow and I began to take my life one day at a time.

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat [or drink], or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil. – Mt. 6:25 – 34

I truly believe that once I followed this advice from Jesus, that my life has changed. I know that it could change tomorrow, it could go bad at any time, but I also know that God will take care of me as long as I continue to stay on that narrow path. I stopped worrying about “things” and worried about what comes after this life and it has made all the difference in my life.

It’s been a long road, and I have come a long way, and I know I have a long way to go, but with Jesus having my back, I’ll make it.

What Have You Done With My Lord

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“What have you done with my Lord?”

These are the words that Mary used when she entered the tomb of Jesus and found it empty. These are the same words we can use when we see all that is happening in the world around us. Every day there is more violence around us whether it is terrorists acts, domestic violence or random shootings. Each time we ask the same question: Where is God through all of this?


Going Against the Tide

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As I mentioned last week I am now working full time at a non-profit, human services organization and it has opened my eyes to many things, mostly positive. Seeing first hand the remarkable things that are being done with so many of our mentally and emotionally challenged individuals is very uplifting. More

The Light at the end of the Tunnel

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It’s funny how things can change in an instant, and life can turn around just like that. Once again God has shown me that when you believe that he is there for you and you trust in Him, things will work out.

I started a part time job in July. My intention was to have something that would help with my expenses. By the end of October I was asked if I wanted to become a full time employee. Last month I was made sort of a supervisor. That has meant an increase in pay and some really good benefits. Not bad for someone who wasn’t planning it.

I have seen such a difference in my life since I have changed my way of thinking. By listening to Jesus and what he has to say, and following His teaching, I am a different person. Do I still have problems? Yup. But the difference is I have hope. I know I can do it, I finally see exactly what the light at the end of the tunnel is. And it isn’t what I thought.

To be continued….

The Same Only Different

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Only five more days until Christmas. For some Christmas is a time for joy and happiness. For others, it can be anything but. For me, I am somewhere in the middle. I spend a lot of time reflecting on my life, where I was, where I am now, where I am going. This year is the same, only different.

The last couple of years have been tough on me. I have been struggling with what seems to be an endless financial mess. My health hasn’t been all that great, I can’t do the kinds of things I like to do, physically I just can’t do it. I have had to make some pretty hard decisions. That is what has been the same.

The what is different is that I finally seem to have an inner peace within myself. I realize that no matter what happens I have Jesus at my back, guiding me and pointing me in the right direction. I know if and when I stumble He will be there to help me up. And more importantly, I have finally realized that there actually is a purpose to life, an “End Goal”.

So many people struggle with trying to figure out where they want to be in life. They wonder what life has in store for them, thinking it is the here and now that is the most important thing in life. They surround themselves with things, always trying to get ahead, to have the latest “stuff” and forget about what is really important along the way. They are so busy pursuing these dreams of wealth and success that they forget why they are really here. They forget about love and kindness. They forget about the “End Goal”.

What is that “End Goal”? It is to use this life to get to the next one, the one where we will spend eternity. We have two choices as to where that will be. We can either spend it in Hell with Satan, or we can spend it in Heaven with Jesus. We always hear about God having a plan for us. Well, this is what is plan is, to spend eternity with Him in Heaven. We won’t get there through materialism, narcissism, hedonism or any other “isms”. We will only get there by being virtuous as we can be, by living our lives the way He wants us to.

Do I always do that? Nope, but I try. And looking back over the last few years I realize that I have come a long way in reaching that goal. Yes, I have a long way to go, but at least I now have the “End Goal” in sight. I am working to that goal each and every day. Whether it is at home, at work, through my writing (which I have done darn little of lately) or through my day to day actions, I am doing my best to get there.

How about you?

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