Some years ago in the Holy Land I was walking across the top of the Mount of Olives on my way to the little town of Bethany, the home of Martha, Mary and Lazarus. To my back, the Old City of Jerusalem had a golden glow in the early morning sunlight. The rain during the night left the downward clay path slippery.
Suddenly my feet went from under me and I landed on my back. For the rest of my stay in Jerusalem the wet clay covered my pants, the only pair I had. As I lay there I thought I heard a voice . . . “George, come forth! Rise from your bed of clay to a better way of life” . . . At the foot of the hill stood the opening to the tomb of Lazarus where Jesus has summoned Lazarus from death to life.
The message made me stop and think. In my travels I had a heavy bag with no wheels and a light carry on valise. The heavy one caused me much exertion and trouble. I decided that day to simplify my life. From then on in my travels I took only the essentials in a small bag, one that I could lift with two fingers. Travel became more exciting and enjoyable.
Perhaps we are carrying too much baggage in living out our lives. . . a chip on our shoulder. . . too much worry and fear. . . poisonous grudges. . . a growing indifference towards God. . . despondency. A voice might be saying to us today, “Come forth! Rise from your death dealing ways of living. Simplify your life! You are carrying too much baggage.” Life could be so much more enjoyable. As we go through the clouds in the next hour take this message to heart. Make some tough decisions.
All through my stay in Jerusalem the clay on my pants reminded me of the shortness of life. My attitudes towards life changed in many ways. Less worry and fear. . . a more loving way of dealing with people. . . more joy and laughter on my lips. . . a greater dependency on God. . . a deeper appreciation of friends.
“Come alive and enjoy the beauty of life!”
Fr. George Mc Kenna
Many years ago I was walking along and came upon a squirrel sitting under a tree. In his little paws he held a roasted peanut and as I looked on, bit into the outer shell. He spit out the pieces and nibbled on the peanut inside. Unafraid of me, he sat there, a picture of contentment like a king at his table.
He didn’t know were his next peanut would come from. That night he would sleep under the stars with no protection from the rain and the storms. God built a system of harmony into the makeup of this tiny creature so that worries, tensions, anxieties have no place in the life of a squirrel.
As we sit down to our well stocked tables with our pantries filled with supplies for many days ahead will we experience the spirit of contentment and satisfaction? Our homes will protect us from the elements and give us security in the dark hours of the night.
Did God plan peace for this little animal and little or no peace for us, His highest form of creation? Jesus promised his followers harmony and contentment in living. “My peace I give you.” Surely the Lord would not dangle this way of life before us as one holds a carrot before a rabbit.
He tells us the secret of bringing tranquility into our lives; “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God.” “The Kingdom of God is within.” Within our physical bodies lies the Kingdom of God, made up of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, with their Beauty, Glory, Love and Power in every nook and cranny.
We have access to these splendid qualities of God. As we come across the hardships of life, we need not lose our peace of heart and give way to despair, bitterness and darkness of spirit. In faith we can turn to the Three Persons within and bring forth Their Goodness into the circumstances of our lives.
Let go of the overwhelming desire to have everything we do in life turn out in ideal fashion. We can do our best at parenting, studying, working – but after that we need to leave the rest to the Kingdom of God within.
Fr. George Mc Kenna