God is Good!

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Be An Encourager


I Love You!

I Love You!

What wonderful, encouraging letters St. Paul wrote to the Churches from his prison in Rome. Death awaited him shortly, but he never fell into the trap of “self-pity”. . . “live lives worthy of your calling, be patient, humble.” He passes over himself, his sad state, and exhorts his people to be mindful of their glorious destiny.

A child makes a homemade gift! We respond, “O my, how wonderful!” Amazing what a word or action , done at the right time, can do to lift up the spirits of people around us. Their whole outlook on life can change because we spoke a world of brightness to them. From 70 years of experience in the Priesthood, I conclude that people are more ready to concentrate on their weaknesses to the exclusion of their overwhelming successes.

I remember once, sitting next to a friend whom I knew from a past parish I served in. She mentioned, “Years ago, when I went to confession to you and told you my weaknesses, you would always say, ‘Now tell me about all your successes, all the good things you did!’” She went on to say, “This gave me much encouragement.”

At a Mass at the Midway Airport Chapel, I gave a test to the congregation by holding up a blank sheet of paper, with a small dot in the center. I asked, “What do you see?” The vast majority responded, “I see a black dot.” Only a few said, “A white piece of paper.” In some way, this proves how we emphasize our shortcomings and overlook the victories we have won. By our encouraging ways, we can help others see a full picture of their lives. They desperately need affirmations.

Overlook weaknesses! See all the good points of others. Bring these character pluses to the attention of the people we meet. Hug your children.   Say often to those close to you, “Luv ya!” Some twenty five years ago, in a homily at Our Lady of the Snows Church, I told the people of the sign that deaf persons use to say, “I love you.” Three fingers are help up, the thumb, the forefinger and the small finger, while the two middle fingers are kept down. At my 50th Jubilee Mass, at the same church, I saw a friend holding up her hand, saying with sign language, “I love you”. She had remembered after all those years. Use this sign!

Why be stingy with compliments? Give flowers to the living! “Encouragement” means, “to put heart into someone.” An aged man, dying alone in an open ward, liked a particular intern who worked on his floor. Why? Every time the young intern walked by his bed, he pinched the old man’s big toe. Nothing was said, but recognition was given, “I know that you are there, hang in there!”

The old man died a peaceful death.

Fr. George Mc Kenna

October 12, 2015 - Posted by | Bulletins | , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. Loved this blog post, encouragement is of the utmost importance in the Christian life. I just read an article on encouragement and why it is so important. It said: A man in the early church named Joseph was given the nickname “Barnabas,” which means “Son of Encouragement” (Acts 4:36). What a blessing Barnabas was to the believers of his day! Through the encouragement of Barnabas, the apostle Paul was first accepted by the church in Jerusalem (Acts 9:27). Through the encouragement of Barnabas, Mark was given a second chance after an abject failure (Acts 13:13; 15:39).

    Encouragement makes it easier to live in a fallen world in a holy way. Encouragement makes it easier to love as Jesus loved (see John 13:34-35). Encouragement gives hope (Romans 15:4). Encouragement helps us through times of discipline and testing (Hebrews 12:5). Encouragement nurtures patience and kindness (see 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 and Galatians 5:22-26). Encouragement makes it easier to sacrifice our own desires for the advancement of God’s kingdom. In short, encouragement makes it easier to live the Christian life.

    Comment by Kate Martin | October 13, 2015 | Reply

  2. oh my dear friend, Fr. George! This is BEAUTIFUL! Yes, we do focus on short-comings, and failings and berate ourselves. I’ve done that for more years than I can count. Why are we so hard on ourselves and so generous with others? And even that, I know myself and my family, I see that we are so nice and kind to our friends but to ourselves, we are much more critical.

    I remember, attending mass at Midway Airport Chapel, and one of the workers there, (a male volunteer for mass) said to me, if you ever get the chance, go to Fr. George for confession – he’s wonderful! Now I see why. I wish that I would have had the chance to go to confession with you. Of course, just attending one of your masses at the airport chapel and I knew that you were something special! Setting your timer to talk for only 3 minutes – but you said more in those three minutes than I had ever heard any priest say in all my years of attending mass. I wish that I could have known you for many more years. But, I think I was meant to meet you at exactly that moment in my life.

    That is one of the things that I noticed about you from the beginning, that you were so ready to acknowledge others and to say something nice about someone or something. You gave heartfelt compliments so freely (you do great work, that is a great way to live, you are so special)…. it struck a chord with me and I do try to be much more complimentary – and have it be genuine – if I see someone’s new house or car, I really do mean it when I tell them how wonderful it is… I try to emulate your wonderful ways. You are such a dear man, Fr. George. I know that you are here for a reason – to help us be better followers of Jesus! And this blog is a wonderful venue for that – so many more can benefit from it now. I know that I tell people always about your book and your blog and even how we met, now, gosh, 7 years ago! My, how that time has flown by. I love you, dear friend.

    Comment by Nancy Kolember Westvang | October 25, 2015 | Reply


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