Monday, March 11, 2013
Do We Realize?
Friends of Faith:
When I say I am a Christian, when I say I am Catholic Christian, when I go to church each Sunday—do I realize what I have, what I am, why I go, what I receive, how I should act or feel because I am present?What a question!
But as Father Mike said yesterday, “If I read the Prodigal Son over and over and over I could write a homily on each and every line of the story.”Now the older son had been out in the field and, on his way back, as he neared the house …He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean. The servant said to him, ‘Your brother has returned …’ He became angry, and when he refused to enter the house, his father came out and pleaded with him. He said to his father in reply, ‘Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends. But when your son returns …, for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’ He said to him, ‘My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’” (Lk 15: 11-32)
One of the messages in this parable is that we are surrounded by richness IN His word, IN his church, IN our lives, IN our bodies as they are created, without embellishment. But just like the son who remained home we don’t begin to REALIZE all that we have been given.If I realized what I had then I would not want more “stuff.” Instead I would only desire more understanding and more fulfillment thru more time with God himself.
No matter who we are, or where we are in our faith, because we are human, we don’t, can’t and won’t fully realize all that God has made available to us, in his love for us, in all of the gifts he has given us, and in the gifts we are meant to share with each other.But the message is simple--He gives me what I need, when I need it, ALL the time—if I realize it!
I don’t even have to begin to understand all of it. But I do have to REALIZE it so that I don’t waste what I have been given or miss the beauty and the love that I have already received, both in the simple teachings and in the complexities of the mystery of the why, the how and the purpose of my creation.Pope John Paul II taught (and teaches us) in Theology of the Body (TOB) www.tobinstitute.com much of what we as Christians should be taught and should want to learn about our creation. JPII has studied and given us this teaching to help us REALIZE our gifts. But as I study and learn these teachings I am continually saddened that so few REALIZE these teachings are even a part of our RICH library of Christian knowledge. It is almost as though we are afraid to learn more, afraid to REALIZE that we are made for more, afraid to REALIZE that our small world will grow bigger and that we will have to change if we learn what God has given us in the bodies he created—from love, by love, and for love.
JP II teaches in TOB that here on earth, if we are married God has given us a “taste and see” thru intimacy in marriage (it is the reason He created marriage). But many of us don’t REALIZE, or even begin to try to understand or to learn the beauty of the relationship God has given us with the one we love the most here on earth. Or worse yet we reduce the institution of marriage to “just sex” or a relationship without the responsibilities God intended for its fullness (procreation.)And for someone who is single, TOB teaches that this intimacy is received even more directly through and to God, by our chastity, by his direct love and caring for us.
WE have it all, if we realize what purpose God created us for. He feeds us body and soul through His Word (into our mind and heart/soul) and His Word made flesh in Jesus (in true communion with Him –His real presence, the real presence we receive in the Eucharist.)His message is simple. We have everything we need in His love and the mercy of His forgiveness. He has given us the ability to love because He loves us unconditionally. Do we realize this?
And where would we be without forgiveness, and where are we when we don’t REALIZE that we are forgiven and that we can be forgiven—both by God and by those who love us for who we are (as the Father did his prodigal son AND the son who had everything but didn’t realize it.)He has called us to use OUR ability to BE social justice –to give love and to share love—to give our riches to others. We are not to depend or expect that someone else will give it to us. We are CALLED to love our neighbor as ourselves. But do we REALIZE that this is OUR job and OUR duty—not something that we should give to the government or expect someone else to do for us. It is our responsibility to help each other and to care for each other. True love is sharing ourselves by serving one another without receiving or expecting to receive anything in return (just as Christ did for us.)
Heavenly Father, You are Love and You have created us FOR love. I am sorry that I ignore or complicate what you are trying to help make me realize. Help me to open my eyes, ears and most importantly my heart to the teachings of Your Church. Help me to realize, understand, and live the way I am called—and that is simply to love. Help me to realize that it is my responsibility to share the gifts you have given me with others and that I should not expect or demand that others do it for me. Amen.Why are we choosing to ignore the messages he sends to us? What part of the gift do we not realize that we have been given by His gift of love and forgiveness?
May we love more, and may we realize that we are loved more,Blessings,