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I Must Account For Every Careless Word

Isaiah's Lips Anointed with Fire by Benjamin West Via Wikipedia

Isaiah’s Lips Anointed with Fire by Benjamin West Via Wikipedia

Please click on the link below to hear Father McKenna read this message.

Some 78 years ago, as a student at Quigley Seminary, I came to know an elderly man, the bookkeeper in the Seminary Office.  In his mid-80s at the time, this short, white haired man impressed me as a saintly person.  His conscientious work made sure that the financial books balance out to the exact penny at the end of the day.  Quite often, he told me, then a young boy of 16, how afraid he was of the judgment soon to come for himself.  Trying to encourage him with reminders of his dedicated work, I heard him say time and time again:  “We must account for every careless word spoken.” Perhaps his exacting work with numbers made him conscious of this exact accounting of idle, ill-spoken words.

His end came one day with a sudden heart seizure in the Seminary Office.  A Bishop O’Connor, visiting the Seminary at the time, gave this saintly old man the last rites and forgiveness for all the sins of his life.  My friend was speeded on his way to Judgment at the hands of a Bishop.

Why have I remembered this story for close to 80 years?  I think perhaps because of the intensity with which the man spoke those words: “We must account for every careless word.”  In my mind I can still see his eyes shining with fervor; I can still hear the deep feeling expressed in each word.  He appeared then like an Old Testament prophet, with his bushy eyebrows and close cropped hair, telling the people of God’s coming judgment.  I thank God for having known this beautiful person.  His one line homily has stayed with me most of my life.

 Would that I had followed his admonitions these past 78 years.  When did I fail by speaking carelessly?  Oftentimes, I must admit, the old man’s words came back to me.  The tongue, a small part of the body, can do devastating damage in life when used carelessly.  As my judgment time approaches, I too grow terribly serious about the prospects ahead; How much easier now to appreciate the feelings of anxiety of my old bookkeeper friend of my youth.

A good friend of mine had used his tongue wisely.  Through the years I never heard him speak uncharitably about another.  No angry words, hateful expressions, bitter sarcasm, no belittling of others.  When hurt by others, he would make excuses for them.  His tongue has added light to the world.  I envied him.

“Lord Jesus, forgive my carless words.  I will make a new start today!”

                                                                                                                                Fr. George Mc Kenna

June 30, 2013 Posted by | Bulletins | , , , , | 4 Comments

A Precious Gift From God

Precious Gift Sunrise 2Click on the link below to hear Fr. McKenna read this message.

Some time ago, a friend of mine gave me a colorful, little plaque, showing the dawn of a new morning.  The one line wording said: “Each day is a precious gift from God.”

I hung this wooden plaque on the wall of my apartment at the doorway, so that each morning, its message would remind me of the preciousness of the hours ahead.  Because of this, since then, I have taken a fresh view on the coming of another dawn and have succeeded in bringing more peace and fulfillment into my daily life.

A game plan I make up in the early morning helps me to keep a simple goal in mind.  Oftentimes, people will just fall haphazardly into the start of another day, stumbling along, with no set plan for living those never-to-return hours ahead.  In the late afternoon, sometimes they sadly realize that they didn’t exercise much control over those hours or their goals.  Why do we continue to make the same old mistakes with the same resultant feelings of discouragement and depression?  Most likely we started without a game plan.

In the early morning a person can sit down and quietly envision the way of living one will follow in the day ahead.  This exercise may only take a minute or two.  For example, one might say, “I’m going to be a prayerful person today.  Now and then, I will lift up my heart to God and share my feelings in a personal way.  I went through all of yesterday without thinking once of God.”  Another possible plan: “Today I will be a loving person.”

Today, as I write this, I plan to say through the day, “Mary, my Mother, I love you.”  I want Mary to help me live today as Jesus lived by teaching me His ideals.  Now, in the late afternoon, I have carried out my plan quite successfully.  I was mindful of reaching for a better way of living.  We may wish to take a few phrases of Holy Scripture, especially the 150 Psalms.  The Bible gives thousands of lines to choose from.  “Lord, teach me Your Ways.”  To step into a day without a plan could be a careless, unproductive way to live.

                        Fr. George Mc Kenna

June 22, 2013 Posted by | Bulletins | , , , , , , | 4 Comments