God is Good!

Seek the Lord while He may be found!

Jesus of Nazareth Is Passing By

An early trip to Ireland to visit relatives

In the spacious dining room of the Major Seminary of the Chicago Archdiocese at Mundelein, Illinois, a huge oil painting covers the entire west wall.  This work of art shows much blue sky and a roadway.  At the curbside, some people are standing, others sitting – all looking at someone or some thing not shown in the painting.  A long shadow falls across the road.

As a seminarian, I didn’t understand the masterpiece for a long time, not being curious enough to ask about it.  Too many other new experiences, as a first year man in the seminary, were occupying my thoughts.  Finally, one day, I walked up to the painting and discovered the title on the bottom corner of the work: “Jesus Of Nazareth Is Passing By.”

By the time I left the seminary as a priest in 1944, this painting had burned itself and its message into my mind – never to be forgotten, always to be treasured, a lifelong influence for good in my life ahead.  Especially in times of darkness and confusion, this mighty work of some artist would flash through my thoughts and remind me that Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.  Yes!  He is present in the Tabernacle, in the Eucharist, in the Words of Scripture.

During a three-month Pastoral Ministry Course in Dublin Ireland, in 1975, I met a Father Michael Hollings, a priest-lecturer from London, England.  He impressed me the most of all the thirty-two speakers I listened to.  His constant theme came across like this: Spend time with the Lord before the Tabernacle: He is passing by with His healing graces, gifts of encouragement, peace and love – the same Gentle Person of the Gospels.  Again and again, as I heard his words, the painting from the seminary dining room occupied my thoughts.

Some may say, “Father, you often write of trying times in your priesthood – misunderstandings, unhappy work situations and other challenges in your work in the Church.”  That is correct!  As I look back over 68 years, I am glad that I never had perfect control over the happenings in my life.  The dark side of daily living gave me the chance to turn to the Lord passing by and beg Him for help in a hundred different ways.

The reader too, has to deal with the rough side of life.  No one has perfect conditions for living, with the weaknesses of original sin in everyone about us.  Turn to the Christ of the Gospels.  We can reach out to Him in prayer from any place we find ourselves!

Fr. Mc Kenna

Enhanced by Zemanta

April 28, 2012 Posted by | Bulletins | 3 Comments

Called To Be Healers

Saint Louis, Missouri, United States

Christ Healing the blind

One day, in the Paris Subway, the Metro, I witnessed a perfect example of a healing.  At the height of the rush hour, a woman in front of me lost all her oranges from a broken bag.  “Voila!” (Oh just see), she cried in dismay as she saw the fruit rolling in every direction among the feet of the commuters.  Wonder to behold, in their rush, people stopped to pick up the oranges and brought them back to the distraught woman.  At the sight of all the fruit once again in her arms, she burst out with cries of joy, “Merci, merci!” (Thanks, thanks!).  A true healing had taken place.  All the parts came back to form a wholeness.  A splintered heart was renewed!

Little did the kind commuters realize the healing they had brought about by their simple actions.  I picked up one of the oranges.  Be aware of the powers we have to give peace and comfort to our suffering sisters and brothers.  In the Gospels, every page tells of a healing action of the Young Preacher from Nazareth.

I used to envy the medical people for their ability to effect healing in their sick patients.  As time went on, I saw myself as a healer, equipped to bring a wonderful wholeness into the lives of people I meet every day.  A cheerful word to a depressed person can chase the darkness from his mind.  For one grieving for a deceased loved one, I can offer a hug and an expression of sympathy.  My ever-present spirit of forgiveness gives other human beings new hope for the future, as in their weaknesses they cause me pain.  In the words above I speak for everyone!

In our efforts to be healers, we imitate the Master, Jesus of Nazareth, the Divine Healer.  What comfort a parent gives to a sobbing child hurt by the cruelties of schoolmates with a hug and a kiss!  The expression “I love you” works miracles in hearts of troubled by low self-esteem.  Even such a small happening as a smile from someone serving me food, a waitress or a flight attendant, raised my low spirits and made me want to go on living.

Each day, set out on the journey of healing as the Master did in His time on earth.  Be interested in all peoples coming across our path as Jesus was!  A well-timed letter, a loving phone call, a short visit to a sick bed – all these can effect a marvelous healing in the lives of people about us.  Nothing will give our own hearts so much peace and consolation as our efforts to be healers!

A friend says, “I’m sick.”  Take the hands of that person.  “We will pray now!

Fr. George Mc Kenna

Enhanced by Zemanta

April 21, 2012 Posted by | Bulletins | 2 Comments