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A Rediscovery Of Christ

Christ, by Heinrich Hofmann via Wikipedia

Christ, by Heinrich Hofmann
via Wikipedia

In January, 1990, I met an interesting man in the Old City of Jerusalem. We will call him Santo, about 37 years old, a native of Naples, Italy. Being a worker in the US Navy shipyards, Santo spoke excellent English. At breakfast one morning, in the Franciscan Hospice where we stayed, Santo shared with our little group some of his life story. At the age of 16, he left home to travel through the world for the next 20 years, always searching for happiness, fulfillment and a peace of heart.

He had gone through several marriages. Nowhere could he find what he sought. Back in Naples, he witnessed his sister’s courage in her suffering through a terminal sickness. Santo saw where she found her strength, in the Lord Whom he had known as a boy. He turned to prayer at this time and began to find a quietness, a peace in his spirit that he had never experienced in all his years of traveling.

At much sacrifice, my new friend had come to Jerusalem to pray and deepen his faith in this Jesus of Nazareth. Joining our little group, all of us strangers just a few days earlier, Santo went with us to the various holy places in and around Jerusalem. As I offered Mass in these shrines, I noticed the devotion of this young man, kneeling on the cold floors of the Churches and Chapels, his eyes closed, in silent communion with His Lord.

Jesus said, “No one who comes to Me will ever hunger or thirst.” People, all of us, are like Santo, hungering and thirsting for peace, courage to face life, and experience a sense of fulfillment in our vocation in life. Santo never felt that until he rediscovered the Christ of his boyhood.

We can begin by thinking of the Eucharist which brings this Lord into our hearts. See in this Holy Bread, the beginning of a deep attachment. Christ did not hold anything against Santo from past happenings. He accepted my friend completely and wholeheartedly into His close friendship.

Santo acted as a sign to me from God, with God saying, “See what I can do for My friends if they trust and love in Me?”

Fr. George Mc Kenna

September 26, 2015 Posted by | Bulletins | , , , , , | 3 Comments

A Prayer Of Lasting Value

St. John Paul II Loved God all his life, and followed His Will

St. John Paul II
Loved God all his life, and followed His Will

Shortly after Ordination to the Priesthood in May, 1944, Cardinal Stritch assigned me to the City of Youth, St. Mary’s Training School, now known as Maryville Academy, a home for dependent children in Des Plaines, Illinois. 850 boys and girls, normal and healthy in every way, from nursery age through high school, called St. Mary’s their year round home. This would be my home for five years.

In the center of the campus school stood the Chapel, the heart of the school, where during Lent, the students came each week for the Stations of the Cross. One line in these devotions reappeared in each of the Stations: “Lord, grant that I may always love You. Then do with me what Thou will.”

Though the past 70 years, I find that this prayer has stayed with me. At unexpected moments, especially in times of failures, disappointments, and pain, I hear myself saying. . . “Lord, grant that I may always love You. Then do with me what Thou will.” This prayer gives balance to my life, keeping me from tipping over into despair.

The words, spoken in faith, say: “I need only one thing in life, Your Love, Lord. Not success, not the applause of the crowd or material advancement. This is another way of saying: “I submit to all the difficult happenings of life, Lord, but do not take Your Love away from me.”

During one of my many stays in Jerusalem, I sat across the dining table from men and women from 18 different nations. Among them there were 40 Polish Priests. From all parts of the world, these pilgrims, at much personal sacrifice, had come to visit the Holy City and pray in the places sacred to the memory of Jesus of Nazareth. All these people, friendly and open to conversation with other pilgrims, expressed enthusiasm about the place of Christ in their lives. Jesus of Nazareth held center stage in their thoughts.

When life deals a hard blow, a follower of the Lord can keep calm and tranquil by whispering these words: “Lord, grant that I may always love You. Then do with me what Thou will.”

Fr. George Mc Kenna

September 19, 2015 Posted by | Bulletins | , , , , | 1 Comment