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The Silence Of God

St. John the Baptist Preaching, c. 1665, by Cavaliere Calabrese, Via Wikipedia

St. John the Baptist Preaching, c. 1665,
by Cavaliere Calabrese, Via Wikipedia

Jesus said, “No man ever born was greater than John the Baptist.” One happening in the exciting Life of the Baptist has always inspired me to persevere in prayer.  John, the ever courageous preacher and forerunner of Jesus, the Messiah, his cousin, rebuked King Herod for his loose way of life.  The King, then threw the Baptist into a dirty dungeon in his summer palace, close to the Dead Sea.

For six months, John made no efforts to contact Jesus, a new powerful voice coming on the scene, except for one occasion. He sent a message to Christ to ask Him if he were the Messiah to come.  Notice, the Baptist, the prisoner, made no pleas for deliverance from his sad state.

From this attitude of John’s, I drew much inspiration. He bore the silence of Jesus without complaint or hard feelings.  From reports, he knew that Christ was aware of his imprisonment.  One day, the executioner came to take his head and John humbly submitted.

 The awful silence of God.  How often I have prayed and told God all my needs. . . Please take away this sickness. . . Release me from this prison of darkness of spirit. . . Help me to keep love in my heart amidst these cold living conditions. . . I never seem to have peace in my life. . .  Only, silence from God greeted most of these pleadings.

I knew He heard me and had power to release me from the many dungeons in which I found myself. Then, my faith faced a challenge.  “God doesn’t care about me.”  Fortunately, the example of the Baptist came to mind, his quiet acceptance of Christ’s silence during his six month imprisonment.  I continued to prayer with complete peace of heart.

In the past, the survivors of the Jewish Holocaust experienced the Silence of God in the heart breaking killings of millions of their fellow Jews by the Nazis. These men and women still ask, “Where was God while all these dastardly things were taking place?”  We can only say, “God’s silence remains a mystery known only to God.”

Fr. George Mc Kenna

October 26, 2015 Posted by | Bulletins | , , , , | 2 Comments

John The Baptist Led People To Christ

Fr John Hinsvark, as a Catholic Chaplain and Captain in the United States Army, during a field exercise in  Bethel, Alaska, in 1982. Photo courtesy of Fr. John Hinsvark via The Alaskan Shepard

Fr John Hinsvark, as a Catholic Chaplain and Captain in the United States Army, during a field exercise in
Bethel, Alaska, in 1982.
Photo courtesy of Fr. John Hinsvark via The Alaskan Shepard

One modern John the Baptist stands out in my life.  His name coincidently, was John too – Father John Hinsvark.  Back in 1976 I lived with this priest in Bethel, Alaska, a community of 3,500 people, of whom 70% were Eskimos.  About 500 miles west of Anchorage, with no roads in between, Bethel and its jet airport stood as the largest community in far western Alaska.  Among the 38 priests in the Fairbanks Diocese, John and I were the only two diocesan priests; the others were Jesuits, including the Bishop.

Pleasant, lighthearted, generous in his words of encouragement, Father John overlooked my weaknesses and shared his wide knowledge of Eskimo life and culture with me.  Twenty years my junior and already 20 years in Alaska when I arrived on the scene, this physically strong man accepted me warmly and made me feel wanted and important.

What I found most appealing in my days with him was the predictability of his behavior.  Day in and day out, my new found friend had few highs and lows, no swings of mood.  No matter what happened, he remained kind, considerate, even tempered and patient.  His closeness to Christ, his belief in prayer, helped him live this way.  After a time, I began saying to myself, “If Christ is helping him to be this kind of person, I want to know this Christ better, more intimately.

Even now, 38 years later, Father John’s way of life still influences my actions.  In Bethel, the Eskimos cherished his presence.   At this time in 2014, Father John is retired living in Anchorage, but still helping out his brother priests in the three Alaskan Dioceses.  I assure myself, if I stay in close union with Christ each day, I, too, can be cheerful, in good spirits, and supportive of others with me on the Glory Road.  Thank You Lord, for bringing this great hearted person into my life, a John the Baptist for me!

In God’s Providence, all of us have a calling to be modern day John the Baptists.  What can prevent us from being loving people in our homes, our places of work and in our community?  Be nice people with those about us!  Without knowing it, we can have people saying: “Why is this person so kind, pleasant and helpful?  Is it Christ who helps him/her to act this way?  If that’s the case, I want to bring Christ into my life through prayer.”

Start out in the morning with a plan of action in our minds.  When unexpected things happen, we will be ready to respond in a patient, even tempered say as Christ would do.  Lead others to the Lord!

Fr. George Mc Kenna

November 22, 2014 Posted by | Bulletins | , , , , | 3 Comments