God is Good!

Seek the Lord while He may be found!

Your Word Is A Lamp Unto My Feet

One early morning, around 5:30 AM, in the Old City of Jerusalem, I, like a blind man, groped my way down a narrow, pitch-dark street.  With no street lights and the moon covered by clouds, I couldn’t even see my hands in front of my face.  I intended to offer the Mass of the Resurrection at the Tomb of Christ in the ancient Church of the Holy Sepulcher.  The Easter Mass of the Resurrection is said there every day of the year, except in Holy Week.

Having walked this block and a half of roadway many times before, I thought I could easily find my way on this downhill, twisting, cobble-stoned street, only 20 feet wide.  Every few feet, steps appeared; I could only find these by slowly reaching out with my front foot.  Before reaching the Church, I experienced fear, uncertainty and almost broken bones.

The next morning, I brought along my tiny, pencil-sized flashlight which showed only a little circle of light at the base of my feet.  With this light, I moved quickly and safely to the Church.  Of course, I couldn’t see down the street, still enshrouded in darkness.  All I needed was light for my next step.

Jesus, in the New Testament, gives us His “Good News” to be the light by which we can traverse the road of life in peace of heart and without fear.  “No follower of mine”, says Jesus, “walks in darkness; he shall have the light of life.”  This “Good News” doesn’t show a bright glare which takes away all the darkness in the future, but just enough light for the next step ahead.  Consider just a few of the messages of the “Good News” which take away all the guesswork and uncertainty on our journey in life.

  • “Love the Lord, Your God, with your whole heart”
  • “Seek first the Kingdom of God”
  • “Store up treasure in Heaven”

We do not need to walk blindly in life.  Use the New Testament to find answers to all its baffling things, such as fear, despair, lack of faith, a joyless life.  Believe in the “Good News”

Fr. George P McKenna

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Fr. McKenna often reflected on the darkness during the winter months.  He had spent time as a missionary in Alaska, and understood first-hand the benefits of the sun, and the healthy light it provides our earthly home, and the fear and despair that could accompany those long dark days.  The simplicity of his messages – bringing everyday life events – are easily tied to our faith and hope in God.

The beauty of a sunset is always a reminder to me of the Light of God’s Love

When I came across this message, I realized that this gift of Uncle George is not unique to him.  If we take the time, we can each look at moments in our life, that God is speaking to us, in the same way, maybe we just don’t realize it.  How often do I get up in the middle of the night to simply use the bathroom?  Moving there in the dark, when I first wake up, isn’t difficult, because my eyes, through my sleep, have drawn accustomed to the darkness.  But once the light of the bathroom readjusts my vision – don’t I keep that light on, just a second longer before I head back to bed, just to see my path before it turns dark?

The other night I let my dog Molly out to do her business before we headed to bed.  She has mostly a dark black fur, and at night, she is difficult to see, so I put her on a leash so I feel safer for her – if she were to take off, I would not see her right away.  But this night, with the light covering of snow, and the clear night sky and an almost full moon illuminating the back yard, she was easy to spot, and I was able to let her run free.

Even in our familiar surroundings, we can be startled by the darkness that is around us, whether it is a visual darkness, or a perceived darkness because of events in our life or the world we live in.  During these times, it’s important to call Fr. McKenna’s messages to mind, and hear the words from John’s Gospel: “I am the Light of the World.  Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the Light of Life.” JN 8:12

God’s Peace – Joe

January 17, 2022 Posted by | Reflections | , , , , | 5 Comments

Lord, Share the Riches of Your Heart

One day, a monk, while walking through a village, found himself accosted by a man out of breath. “Give me your riches”, the man demanded. “Last night, a voice told me to get the riches from a monk passing through my village.” The monk thought for a moment and then, with a smile, answered, “Do you mean this?” He showed the man a huge jewel, the size of his hand. I found this in the woods. You can have it if you wish.”

The man eagerly grabbed the jewel and ran off with it. However, the next day, he searched out the monk and handed him back the stone. “Here, take this jewel back. Give me instead, the riches of your heart which enables you to give this gem away, without even a second thought.”

Jesus reminds us that joy doesn’t mean having a “high”. Many misled people try to find this “joy” in the “highs” of drugs and intoxicants. We cannot chase after happiness for its own sake. Happiness is not found in other people or in external things, but rather, within ourselves.

Here are four ways to bring joy to ourselves:

  1. Try saying, “How lucky I am”, “How grateful I am.” It is impossible to be grateful and at the same time be unhappy.
  2. Say, “I can do the loveliest things in the world. I have all the loveliest things in the world. I can discover love, tastes, hearing, and sight.”
  3. Think of yesterday and its events. At each good happening, say “thanks”. For the difficult things that took place, say, “They were placed there for my growth.”
  4. Think of the things of today! Say, “It is well, it is well. All the earth is in the Hands of God.” Concerning the happenings of tomorrow or the future, say, “All shall be well, all shall be well. All the earth is in the Hands of God.”

Fr. George P. McKenna

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Happy New Year 2022! May you be blessed with All Things Good! It has been 6 months since I last posted on Fr. McKenna’s Blog – It was for his 102nd Birthday! During that time there has been sporadic tuggings in my heart and mind to come back to Uncle George’s writings and update his inspirational blog – but as time can tell, I never followed through with those impulses.

Since joining the retirement ranks, I have found myself with the valuable gift of time – and as I result, I’ve started reading more. All my children are readers – I think they got that from my mother-in-law, and so I’ve been very pleased to join them in this worthwhile adventure. I just finished reading The Book of Joy, by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, with Douglas Abrams. As I read through this book of reflections and advice by two of the world’s most popular spiritual leaders, I was drawn to the two people in my own life that I consider modern-day saints – Fr. McKenna, and my mother-in-law, Anne Moran McKenna (Affectionately known in our family as MeeMee).

Uncle George and MeeMee

There were many references that drew Fr. McKenna into my mind – I think he would have gotten along marvelously with both the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu. From reading the book, I sense that the three of them are kindred spirits. But two lines from the Archbishop caught my attention and I believe epitomize both Uncle George and MeeMee.

The first had to do with the purpose of the book: “Our goal is to be the reservoir of joy, an oasis of peace, a pool of serenity that can ripple out to all those around you.” Uncle George and MeeMee always brought joy and peace to the people they met, whether family, friends, acquaintances, or strangers. They provided me with an example to aspire to and I know all my children still hold them close to their hearts.

The second quote had to do with generosity. There are many ways for us to have a generous heart, and Fr. McKenna and Anne were always willing to give, in my opinion, in the most valuable way – through their time. Archbishop Tutu said, “The people we admire are those who have been other-regarding.  Who, even in the midst of a lot of hard work and so on, when you want to speak with them, they have a way of making you feel that, at that precise moment, you are the most important thing they have to deal with”. For Fr. McKenna, you don’t have to look long and hard – just gaze at some of the comments on this blog – from his friends and family to students going back as early as his first assignment at Maryville Academy – and then of course, Quigley. In much the same way, but not as publicly, MeeMee provided her friends and family with love, support, and shared her faith and her hopes and dreams for all. If there was a prayer to be said – you would go to Anne McKenna because you knew she had a direct line to the Big Guy Upstairs. And if you were at a party with her – it was like taking a number just to talk to her. When she was with you – SHE WAS WITH YOU! As Desmond Tutu said, Anne made you feel like “you are the most important” person she had to deal with.

In closing, I just want to say that reading The Book of Joy made me realize how precious Fr. McKenna’s words have been throughout his life, and beyond. Uncle George loved to have New Year’s resolutions and would write about them often. If he were here with us, I’m sure he’d be writing about how we can improve our lives. I’ve said often, that when I pick a message from Uncle George’s writings, it is more the writings finding me, than me finding the writings. The message above was the first one on the stack that I took from today – clearly a message for the times: Be grateful, be generous, be compassionate and be forgiving. We could all use a little more of that in 2022.

God’s Peace and well wishes for the New Year, Joe

January 11, 2022 Posted by | Reflections | , , , , , | 25 Comments