God is Good!

Seek the Lord while He may be found!

I Don’t Want To Die Years Before They Bury Me!

This timeless homily was written by Uncle George at Christmastime, 1971.  I realize that Christmas is still 120 days away, but I bet you can find a store with Christmas lights on sale this weekend if you go looking – so why not share a message about faith, hope, love, and the meaning of life packaged as a Christmas Homily? 

My family – both immediate and extended – have gone through some heart wrenching and soul searching times during the month of August, forcing many of us to question, WHY????  During the eight years I’ve had the honor of managing Fr. McKenna’s Blog – God Is Good, I have always said that the messages find me, I do not find them.  This message stays true to that; it was the first of Uncle George’s writings that I touched today that we had not shared earlier on his Blog. 

I don’t know your personal story, but I do know that someone needs this message today.  So many of you have written to say, “Fr. McKenna, I needed to hear this story today . . . ”  I know this will touch someone, it has touched me, and as I ask the question WHY?????  –  I find I don’t have the answer, but I do know that this Christ Child will bring me His Peace and a life of happiness.  The last line of Uncle George’s 1971 Homily held true for his entire life – he lived life up to the last moment, and each moment grew closer to his Beloved Lord.     Joe

Toomore Cemetery
County Mayo, Ireland

The vision of Christ, the Prophet of all prophets . . . how much we waste time on so many non-essentials.  This remains the great work of life, the forming of a vast love for this Christ – Who alone stands as the Spiritualizing Force of all the ages.  He has inspired men and women with ideals that no one else ever has.  Men have died shouting, “Lord God, Thy Kingdom forever!”

Why do we sell our time to a project that oftentimes is built on sand, shifting on its weak foundation with each blow of a wind or adversity?  Why not give our time and effort to a great Prophet, a King of all Kings?  Many hold back thinking they will lose out on the fun of life, that somehow they will become fanatics in religion.  The happiest men in all the world are the ones who have pledged their love to the Child of Bethlehem.  What good will it be to be the richest man in the cemetery?

We must admit that so few men seem to reach this knowledge of Christ.  If they do, then it doesn’t seem to penetrate their outer lives.  Jealous and envious, selfish and self seeking, they present a poor picture of a follower of Christ to their fellow man.  The men and women of the outer life are not impressed with this mode of living; they want, and rightfully so, to see some evidence in the lives of others of what this dedication to Christ can do.  Seemingly, no effects take place and sad to say, oftentimes those who should be the closest to the Lord because of their preaching and call in life are the farthest away.

All of us realize our weaknesses, our failings of the spirit, how far we are from the ideal held up for us by Jesus.  This stands as the big work of our lives – to bring Christ into it so that He can transform us according to His Image.  We are all different, but at the same time, all working with the same Christ.

Many recoil from Christ, not understanding what He is asking for.  They think wrongly that this is the end of a pleasure filled life.  On the contrary, Christ holds out to us peace of heart and a happiness-filled life that no other man in life could give us.

Bethlehem, the city of Bread, the Bread of Life, set on a hilltop, a small cave, cold weather, straw, dumb animals and lowly shepherds.  The Child Christ calls to us from here – “Follow Me!”  Why not try this Christ Who comes in the darkness of a winter’s night?  Have we really ever wished to give ourselves to Him?

Whoever thought that this could happen, that a Child would be born to us, a Child to raise us up from the darkness of despair?  We are being computerized (hospitals), being made just a number (social security), being scrutinized (cashing a check).  We need this consolation that to our God we are persons, whom He truly loves.  We are personal names to Him, our lives completely open to His thoughts.  I would like to receive some inspiration from Him at this Christmas time, some insights into living a fuller life, a more rewarding living.  Don’t you often feel that you are going through the motions of living, but really aren’t producing the peace and rewards that you so badly want?  I don’t want to die years before they bury me . . . I want to go on living up to the last moment of life, growing in stature and becoming a good person.

Fr. George P. McKenna

 

 

August 28, 2019 Posted by | Bulletins | , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Teach Us To Pray

Uncle George wrote this about 32 years ago.  It’s a fitting entry for today – the 31st Anniversary of the establishment of the Chicago Midway Airport Chapel on July 24, 1988.  The unmentioned priest in this story is Monsignor John Hayes.  Uncle George picked good heroes to emulate.  As you read this story, those of us who loved Fr. McKenna, could argue that the sentiments he had for Monsignor Hayes are the same we still hold in our hearts for him: #1 hero, he possessed a spirit of peace and kindness, he is the inspiration of a lifetime, and I thank him every day for his influence on my life.
God’s Peace to all.  Joe.

A young Seminarian

One late afternoon, some 54 years ago, as a 1st year student, I went into the magnificent Gothic Style Chapel of Quigley Seminary on the North Side.  In the semi-darkness of twilight, a young priest, then a member of the Seminary Faculty, knelt in prayer, his head bent down.  Seeing him praying so quietly and peacefully, made me think . . . “This is a good idea, to talk with God and bring some of His Goodness into my life.  I want that young priest’s peace.”

The next year, In 2nd year, this same priest, whose name I withhold because he is still living and active in Chicago at 80 years of age, entered our classroom to teach us Latin.  This closeness to him on a daily basis increased my admiration for him and helped me to set him up as my #1 hero in my 5 years at Quigley.

Everything he did in the classroom possessed that spirit of peace and kindness, which undoubtedly, came from his practice of prayer and union with God.  Nothing ruffled his daily life with us, oftentimes rough and unthinking youngsters.  The passing years have not lessened my reverence for him.  He still remains my #1 hero, the inspiration of a lifetime.

The spirit of prayer which Jesus constantly practiced made Him an appealing person to His followers.  All the actions of Christ possessed those qualities of peace, fearlessness and gentleness.  Seeing his style of life, His friends begged Him to teach them how to pray.  Rightfully so, they concluded that prayer gave Him that special calmness and courage in the face of suffering.

Like the Apostles, beg the Lord for this spirit of prayer.  Above all the gifts of life, the possession of tranquility and inner harmony ranks first.  A faithful follower of Christ, in admiration of His life, can raise up one’s heart joyfully in short aspirations.  Nothing will bring a person peace more quickly than a willingness to share one’s fears, doubts, and happenings of the day with the Lord.

Prayer engenders a courageous spirit in the personality of the one who prays.  People will begin to ask, “How do you make it possible to act they way you do?”

When I meet my former Latin teacher of yesteryear, I tell him thanks for his influence on my life.  He quietly smiles.

Fr. George McKenna

July 24, 2019 Posted by | Bulletins | , , , , , | 7 Comments