God is Good!

Seek the Lord while He may be found!

Lord, Where Are You?

Some years ago, a series of paperback novels hit the book stores concerning a certain priest, Don Camillo, the parish priest in a small hilltop town in Italy.  Vigorous in nature and explosive at times in his temperament, Don Camillo would often go into the Parish Church and talk forcefully to Christ on the Cross.

This good hearted priest didn’t see a plaster of paris figure on the cross, but rather the Living, Pulsating Christ of the Gospels.  He would “argue” with Christ and ask Him many questions about life in the village, one dominated by a Communist Mayor.  Don Camillo demanded that the Lord do something about these conditions, because he, the priest, could do no more than he was doing.

Strangely enough, the Lord would quietly respond to the words of the priest, sometimes humorously.  In turn, Don Camillo showed no surprise at this dialogue.  Between the lines of these stories and adventures, the reader could detect a strong friendship between Christ and the village priest.  The Christ, on the cross, often left so lonely in the Church, without friendship, returned to Don Camillo’s trust and faith with an equal amount of love and help.

The Camillo stories always fired up in me a wish to imitate the priest and have the same kind of relationship with Christ that he had.  “Don”, by the way in Italian means, “Father.”  A while back, I went to Holy Sepulcher Cemetery to conduct a prayer service for a deceased man.  To my chagrin, he didn’t show up.  While sitting alone in the Sacred Heart Internment Chapel for 45 minutes, I talked to the bronze image of Christ on the wall.  Like Don Camillo, I saw there the Living, Pulsating Lord of the Gospels.  I talked to Him, not in an argumentative way, but rather telling the Lord why His people find it difficult to build up that friendship worthy of Him.

Lord, show Yourself in some visible way to encourage us to think of You as alive in our daily living.”  I went on to say, “Lord, we don’t want You to be part of a wax museum in our lives . . . Even, if you don’t speak to our physical ears in an audible way, speak to the ears of our heart.  We wait for Your messages, otherwise the terrible silence of our relationship with You will kill off our hopes, dreams and our belief in You.  Please do something!”

All of us can do what Don Camillo did!  I did with good results in my life.  The author of the Camillo stories brought out the glorious possibilities of an exciting relationship with the Lord of the Gospels. 

Fr. George Mc Kenna

February 25, 2012 Posted by | Bulletins | 5 Comments

A Watchword, A Motto, A Battle Cry

Our Lord Jesus Christ

As a First Year student in Quigley Seminary at the age of fourteen in 1933, I heard of the unusual story of a Fourth Year student, Anthony Benesch.  This young man, the leader of his class of 200 students, had the custom of writing at the top of all his papers these words: “All For Jesus.”

Somewhere, Anthony had heard of the wisdom of doing all things for the Lord Jesus.  Perhaps he had read St. Paul’s words, “Whatsoever you do in word or in deed, do all in the Name of the Lord Jesus.”  So he began to place this watchword on all his class papers.  His classmates “needled” him in a good natured way, but this did not keep Anthony from continuing something he considered vital to the life of his spirit.

Even through his later years in the Major Seminary at Mundelein, where he excelled in his studies, Anthony kept proclaiming the reason for all his dedicated work, “All For Jesus.”  No one in the past 80 years has followed his footsteps with such a forthright declaration of one’s goal.

After Ordination to the Priesthood in 1941, Father Benesch was assigned to teach at Quigley Seminary, a work which he continued for the next forty six years, until his death in 1987.  Always the quiet, unassuming person, Father Anthony carried out his duties of teaching in the same conscientious way he showed as a young student.

I taught with Father Benesch for twelve years at Quigley Seminary, and every time we met in the Faculty Room or in the hallways, I could only think of his story of his watchword, his battle cry, “All For Jesus.”  His convictions had sunk into my way of thinking, even without myself realizing it.

In our personal struggles with the happenings of life, we could well adopt this motto, “All For Jesus”, as a reason to have courage and to fight valiantly for the cause of the Lord.  Into every life come sufferings of all descriptions, with their physical pains, heartaches, and disappointments.  I can accept these stoically, without any reference to the Lord and to the sufferings he underwent for us.

On the other hand, we can give glory and praise to Christ by lifing up these painful times to Him by saying , “All For Jesus.”  Then we suffer with Christ Who comes to our side to stand with us in these dreadful moments of darkness and despair

Fr. George Mc Kenna

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February 18, 2012 Posted by | Bulletins | 3 Comments