CAMPUS PADRE Offers food for thought
Therein lies much of the problem in our country and in countries around the world. If we are to be united, we need to understand what it means, objectively. We cannot strive toward a universal ideal when we actively deny the very existence of such ideals.
This is true of Unity, and of such ideals as Love, Peace, Justice, Truth, Freedom, Right, and Good. In order to achieve a society built upon objective universal ideals, we would need to root their existence in something other than ourselves, especially considering that we also don’t agree on what it means to be a human person. So, we are left with a fundamental question that we will fail to be united in answering… the question of God.
Although the answer to the question of God’s existence, defines everything else, there is a much deeper problem that exists and it will cause continued problems everywhere human beings live. We are at war within ourselves. We are tormented by the conflicting desires of our nobler and more selfish selves. So unless the ‘New Man’ dream of Eugenics comes into existence or governments manage to give ‘happy drugs’ to everyone… Unity, Peace, Love… all of it, will be as elusive for future generations as it is for us and has been since the beginning of human history.
There is a way forward. It’s a path that isn’t paved with illusions. It’s the most intense reality, requires absolute commitment and unwavering practice of living the principals. Since the dawn of humanity, there have been those among us who became free and turned from gazing into the pool of their own reflection, who were freed from the power of the lying mirror. Maybe you’ve met some of them.
These are the people who embodied the best of who we can be and keep us and have kept our world from complete destruction. They sustain the little unity, peace, love, truth, justice that there is in the world. They will readily admit that theirs is not an easy path. They will also tell you that the path cannot be found without first encountering the one who blazed the trail. Just like a French woman named Margaret Mary, who was changed forever because he touched her. His heart and her heart were brought together and hers became engulfed in the burning intensity of his love. It’s an encounter that no one can have and remain unchanged. It’s the answer to every question.
So, we will not end war, poverty, or any of the other inhumanities that human beings insist on inflicting upon each other… But we can experience an end to the war within ourselves. One person at a time we are freed to live in a county that knows perfect unity where life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is the universal norm.
If you'd like to know more about the one who ends the war within us, check out the Homily for the 15th Sunday of Ordinary Time.
We have one God the Father who through the Holy Spirit came upon a young woman named Mary and conceived a Son. Later, God the Son gave his mother as our own. Mary became the mother of God, the mother of the Church, the mother – Queen of Heaven. In our baptism we all became brothers and sisters of Jesus and sons and daughters of our mother in heaven. She waits to welcome us with joy and cares for us even now, with the tender attentiveness of the mother of an infant.
She invites us to follow her Son, our Lord Jesus. What is important to him, she desires will be important to us –mercy, forgiveness, the common good of all, faith and prayer. What he does, she desires us to do “do whatever he says”… just as the Father had also said, "This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!" They want us to know the same peace and joy.
The word ‘peace’ occurred in all the readings today. The First Reading, spoke of God sending “flowing peace, like a river”. Paul spoke of the peace and mercy that come to all who become that transformed person in Jesus Christ. And, in the Gospel, Jesus tells his disciples to bring peace with them to every house they enter. This is the abiding peace that surpasses understanding. It is independent of circumstance and mood. It is undiminished by any storm. It is the peace that pervaded Christ during the torturous days and nights of his passion.
So our task as Christians is to be bringers of peace and joy. To draw others into our peace and joy, and lead them into the heart of Christ… just as we have been drawn in and continue to be led ever deeper into that divine union of hearts.
Relationships are central to our faith. Relationships have the power to change us. Good relationships change us for the better. Relationships of shared faith which are focused on holiness, they transform us and immerse us more deeply into relationship with God. God wants us to be transformed in every good way by our relationships with Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
You know how you listen carefully to people that you really love (and don’t take for granted) and even pick up on the little details between the lines and in their movements and quirks that are imperceptible to other people? God wants us to listen the same way and be sensitive to the details in the same way… so that every time we read or listen to God’s Word, we are left with lots to reflect upon.
This is how we become the new person who strives to live a life of perfect integrity and truth, a life of deep compassion and concern and who comes to more fully embrace a life of freedom and peace in Christ. But, this is not the person that we need to be in order to answer the call to labor in the fields. Perfection is not required, just desired.
Right now and in full knowledge or our imperfections, Christ shares his deepest desire: the building up his Kingdom, spreading the Gospel, saving souls. There is an urgency to his words "The harvest is abundant, but the laborers are few." He doesn’t want to lose anyone. He doesn’t want the world to get worse. Each one of us is essential in some way to the fulfillment of that plan to reach out to all the men and women who so desperately need direction, meaning, and true love in their lives, and to lead them home where mom is waiting patiently.
Strengthen your relationship with God. Grow in holiness. But while you’re doing that, discover how you are being called, gifted and sent as a laborer in the field of a bountiful harvest. Then Go, visit the prisoner, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give shelter to the orphan, teach a healthy cooking class, pray for the lost, comfort the dying, heal the sick, cast out demons, love your enemy, forgive your husband, share faith, choose life, stand for justice, defend the truth… Go, make disciples by loving God and loving neighbor.
To the first point, prayer is essential to the relationship with God. It is a conversation between God and you. It also matters that You and I are human, so it makes sense that our starting point is our humanness! That point is essential to ‘praying well’ and being present to the moment, to the encounter with God. We also have an individual identity and experience in life and that will affect how each of us prays. If we pray, we are more quickly and more likely to grow in faith and understanding.
So, what is prayer and where do we begin?
I’m such a mess, I just can’t talk to God…
Ok, I’m starting to understand, but…
Final thoughts before I go pray?
Peace doesn't just happen; it's made.
CampusPadre is a college ministry Priest Chaplain with 30 years experience in youth and young adult ministry, who strives to let the Holy Spirit lead and challenges students to seek holiness above all.