Suppose I knew of a secret, mysterious garden, surrounded by a high wall with only one gate leading into it. In the garden were placed riches and beauties of all kinds. I found out that someone was willing to give me the special key to this wondrous place. How I would clamor and beg for this key!
I found out that the key is prayer which opens the gate and permits me to walk into this garden of unbelievable beauty and wealth. On the bench in the garden sits the Lord, the same Gentle Person of the Gospels. I can sit down with Him and converse with Him about anything I wish. He gives His full attention to me as if I were the only person in the world.
As I share my thoughts and visions with Him, He is constantly reaching out to pluck a fruit from a tree, or pick up a precious stone at His feet, or a lovely flower and putting them in His hands. Because of my love and faith which are showing through my words, He puts blessings in the form of these gifts of the garden into my pockets and heart. In a short time, I have riches of all kinds to make my life more fulfilling.
Reluctantly, I rise to leave. What a pleasant, relaxing experience it has been to sit with my Friend, the Lord Jesus. I am grateful to those who gave me the key to this splendid garden – that which is prayer. These visits changed my life.
Fr. George Mc Kenna
One day, many years ago, I was swinging my golf club in my garage which held about twenty cars. Another person, parking her car, called out cheerfully, “That looks like a good swing!” It was said in a joking way, but still the message was encouraging, giving me hope for the future.
Someone may say of the exchange above, “Such a small thing and you call that an affirmation?” Yes, a small thing, but of much importance to the one receiving the message. Everyone needs to hear frequently, “Yes, you are beautiful. You are good and worthy of much esteem.”
A young juvenile delinquent wrote to his parents, as he left home for good: “Yes, you gave me Christmas gifts and birthday presents, but you never had time to sit down and listen to me when I wanted to tell you something. You gave me the feeling that what I had to say really didn’t mean much or carry any weight of importance.”
Listening can be a way of affirming others, of healing their inner spirits. People cry out to be affirmed, to be told their worthiness and fitness to be loved and treasured. Recall in our own lives how much help we received from someone, a teacher, a classmate, a family member who in some way, by word or action gave us a feeling of importance.
Jesus does this kind of thing all through the Gospels. We should wish to imitate Him in this way of living. Even a smile can be an affirmation. “Yes, I am noticing you and I like what you are doing!”
Jesus was a healer without equal. In a tender, gentle way, He dealt with all whom He met. He never put any person down as unworthy of His attention. All went away from Him feeling better. After someone meets us, do they walk away feeling better?
Fr. George Mc Kenna