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The Beauty Of Graciousness

Princess Di dancing with John Travolta at the White House.  Picture via Wikipedia

Princess Di dancing with John Travolta at the White House. Picture via Wikipedia

On September 6, 1997 the English people conducted the funeral services for their Cinderella Princess Diana, affectionately called Princess Di.  Never in present memory has England, as a Nation, shown so much depth of emotion and sense of loss as it had for their young Princess.  No one is trying to make her a saint, because like us, she had her faults and weaknesses.  However all agree that the Princess possessed a rare, rich quality: the gift of graciousness.

This graciousness, radiant and vibrant, came from the respect and courtesy she showed to everyone she met, especially for suffering children.  In the high level of English society and the Royal Family Circle, Princess Di had a low rating because she mixed too much with the common people.  According to their way of thinking, she didn’t keep herself aloof enough for them.  Of course, this trait of graciousness endeared her in a remarkable way with the English public.  People began to think maybe, that as a nation, we can be gracious to each other.

In His time, Jesus, the Prophet from Galilee, found disfavor with the religious institution, the Scribes and the Pharisees, since he associated with sinners and tax-collectors.  In a recent Gospel, the Lord gave the gift of hearing to a non-Jew, a Gentile, something a good Jew would never dream of doing.  The pages of the Gospels hold many such instances where Christ showed Himself as a gracious Human Being, kind and courteous.

At the end of her unhappy marriage, the young Diana refused to retreat into seclusion in bitterness, away from the public eye.  Instead she spear-headed causes for charity, among them: bringing attention to suffering AIDS victims and the elimination of land mines throughout the world.  In her funeral procession, representatives from 110 charities touched, by her personal backing, marched in her honor.

In her tragic death, we can examine our own spirit of graciousness.  How delightful to meet a person with this gift, one who puts us at ease and makes us feel important!  I just finished speaking on the phone with a hospital receptionist and insurance agent – both women.  Their voices, warm and unhurried, helped me solve my personal dilemma.  Gracious people!

 Each one of us can be a gracious person, treating all people we meet with love and respect, no matter what their station in life.  During my travels to Sweden and France, I asked dozens of questions for information, always receiving courteous answers from people of these countries.  Make our homes and city, places where gracious living holds paramount importance.  Who can stop us?  “Here lies a gracious person.”  Will this be the epitaph on our gravestones?  Eternal Rest be given Princess Diana!

                        Fr. George Mc Kenna

August 31, 2013 Posted by | Bulletins | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Who Will Open My Ears

Mother Teresa was born on Aug 26, 1910.  Her name, Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, means “rosebud” or “little flower” in Albanian.  She spent her life listening to the voices of the poor. Picture via Wikipedia

Mother Teresa was born on Aug 26, 1910. Her name, Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, means “rosebud” or “little flower” in Albanian. She spent her life listening to the voices of the poor.
Picture via Wikipedia

Years ago doctors in a Chicago hospital placed a 5 year old boy in a tent like structure filled with pure oxygen.  His little body could not fight off infections from germs and viruses.  In this unnatural little world, he found himself cut off from the outside world.  One day he died unexpectedly to the great grief of all.

As time went on, this story took on a new significance for me.  At certain times I could see myself in such a self-made structure, in the rarified atmosphere of my own selfishness.  With my mind filled with my own problems, I would cut myself off from all those about me, even from those crying out for help.  This isolation added misery to my life.  I might as well have been deaf and dumb.  Surely, at times, such condition must affect the lives of the readers.

Someone wrote that a Gospel story is a mirror of what is happening in our own lives.  In one Gospel story Jesus heals a deaf mute and gives him back the gifts of hearing and speech.  Today, Jesus of Nazareth is passing by and comes upon us in our deafness and muteness.  Realizing our need for healing, we ask Him, “Lord, please unstop my ears and help me to speak.”

Years back, while I was at the Chapel, Midway Airlines gave seminars to their 3,500 employees on the importance of giving cheerful and effective help to their passengers.  One main theme came across in these meetings: “Listen to the voice of the person!  Perhaps you will detect weariness, hostility, anger or fear.  Respond to that emotion in the voice!  Soothe the anger!  Ease the fear!  Promise personal help to the weary!  Give everyone equal treatment, the poor, the rich, the well placed, the illiterate!”

How well we could use the theme of the above seminars as we strive to listen to the voices about us, crying for help.  First, be willing to listen!  Lord, unplug our ears!  Loosen our tongues!  We need not be experts to give assistance to those in need.  Speak simply from the great wisdom in our hearts, a wisdom residing there from our own experience in living.  Respond compassionately to the emotion in the voice of the person in need!

                        Fr. George Mc Kenna

August 25, 2013 Posted by | Bulletins | , , , , , | 2 Comments