God is Good!

Seek the Lord while He may be found!

To Love Is An Acquired Skill

Carl Heinrich Bloch's painting of Gethsemane

Carl Heinrich Bloch’s painting of Gethsemane

In January of 1982, an Air Florida jet plane crashed in the icy waters of the Potomac River shortly after takeoff from Washington D.C.  A short time after the disaster, a rescue helicopter hovered over the six struggling survivors in the frigid water and ferried them on by one to the nearby shore.  One survivor, Arland D Williams Jr., a middle aged man, kept putting the rescue harness on the others until he alone was left.  When the helicopter returned for the last time to snatch this man from the waters, he had slid beneath the surface to his death, a hero of charity.

If someone had asked the man a week before the accident; “Would you give up your life for strangers?’, his answer may have been like many of us, “I don’t know if I would be able to do that.”  However, when faced with the issue in the freezing waters of the river, “My life or the lives of these other people”, he did not hesitate to sacrifice his life for strangers.

From that incident, I want to point out that we generally underestimate the great storehouse of love that we have in our hearts.  We are not born with the skill to love, but rather through practice we acquire this ability to care for others.  Compare this experience of learning to love with the experience of learning how to type or to swim.  These skills are all acquired through practice.  Each time we do a loving thing we increase our ability to love, to be a caring person.

Be conscious as you carry out loving actions, such as forgiving those who have hurt you, being patient with others, helping those in need; you are increasing your powers to love.  In a hundred different ways, you can show kindness and consideration to others.  There is no limit to this expansion of your heart.  What a splendid, consoling truth to cherish about life in our daily struggles to be generous hearted people.  As we near the end of our Lenten journey, what better example do we have – our Savior, who also gave his life, so that others could live?

Fr. George Mc Kenna

March 14, 2015 - Posted by | Bulletins | , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Hi again, Fr. George! Yeah! the other post went thru! Good!! I know that your family brings you these messages so I am glad to be able to write to you in this way… Even though I should also write to you more … excuses, excuses! I do remember this story of that plane crash – what a heroic thing to do. I don’t know what I would be capable of doing in that situation. Hopefully I will never be tested in that way.

    I think I told you that I am reading a book that a friend gave to me, called ‘Jesus Calling’. It is a page-a-day reflection but written as Jesus is talking to the reader, in the first person. It is wonderful. I re-read the messages too, because they are so wonderfully rich and simple. I often will ‘hear’ your thoughts in those pages as well – things that you advise, like talking to Jesus as if he is a dear friend in the room with you… and other things like that. I’m praying for assistance with a vocational decision right now. I’m going to try and just see where Jesus sends me. I have a feeling that I might be getting nudges in one direction and so we will see. I’ll keep you posted.

    Looking forward to Easter, which is fast approaching, and spending some time with you! It might even be on Easter Sunday as my family will be having their Easter celebration on Holy Saturday, due to work schedules. I’m going to be able to see lots of family, some that live out of the immediate area, and meet the two newest grand-nephews, born in October and February. How exciting!!

    Again, I give thanks to YOU for enriching my spiritual life SO much, and making this Lenten journey so meaningful for me. You were sent to me and helped me to return to Our Lord and I am forever grateful to God for such a gift. And this beautiful post about love … I truly never thought about it, that we are not born knowing how to love… and for some in my immediate circles, forgiveness is just a word. I’ve been ‘forgiven’ by someone but completely shut out of their life… painful, but I have let go, as you have advised me so many times before. I can only pray for that individual to have less hardening of their heart and hope for the best… thank you for helping me thru a difficult situation. We can talk more about it when I come visit you.

    Well, my dear friend, I hope that you have a wonderful day and an early Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to you, Fr. George! I love you!


    Comment by Nancy Kolember Westvang | March 14, 2015 | Reply

  2. Love the message father!! By doing loving things that increases the ability to love and care more, now if we could just get everyone to do a single act of kindness imagine the domino effect and the gratification received by both giver and receiver. Your making this world a better place!!

    Comment by Anonymous | March 14, 2015 | Reply

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