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Holy Spirit, Open My Mind To The Possibilities Around Me

Appearance of Jesus Christ to Mary Magdalena
by Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov

In speaking of physical health, all doctors agree on one point – exercise is a “must”. “Use your heart or lose it.”  All my life I have kept active, my favorite activity being golf.  When I was assigned to Our Lady of The Snows on Chicago’s Southside, I would walk around Midway airport – a four mile trip – for my exercise.  When I retired, I rented a condominium in a three story complex at 99th & South Pulaski.  So accustomed to meeting my need for exercise, I became sad and frustrated because weather conditions kept me far from my usual level of activity.  It would be too cold or too hot, too snowy or too rainy, or sometimes just too inconvenient to go down three floors to street level.  I was beginning to feel sluggish and tired.

Then a thought came to me: what about the corridor just outside my door? It was long enough, about 50 yards, heavily air conditioned in the summer and heated in the winter.  And so I began my daily walks for about 30 minutes at a time.  My level of good health returned quickly.  I was actually thrilled at this discovery of how to get my walking in right outside my front door!

The same holds true for the health of our soul. Spiritual leaders tell of the absolute necessity of making Jesus, the Great Prophet from Nazareth, the center of our life.  We are to focus the spotlight of our love and attention on this Gentle Person of the Gospels.  All other persons stand in the dark.  Here we see the Savior offering us His Love and Friendship.  We need but say “Yes” and He will come, capture our hearts and draw us under His spell of goodness and righteousness.  We follow up this “Yes” with a daily sharing of the happenings of our life with Jesus.

In this brief message, we can see how to improve our interior life by accepting the Lord’s invitation to be His loving friend. In my opening story, I allowed everyday circumstances of life to keep me from my daily exercise.  Luckily I overcame these minor distractions before my health deteriorated too much.  And after starting my routine, I saw how simple it really was to find and make the time for exercise.

We can easily allow the conditions of life to make us deaf and blind to the circumstances that are darkening our souls, and then miss the chance of a life time to renew it; too much work to do, too many responsibilities, or the old time favorite – “I’m just not the praying type.” Jesus’ invitation is open to all people of all ages.  Don’t put off your acceptance of this wonderful soul and life saving change.  Thrill at the simplicity of carrying it out. 

Jesus stands before us . . . “Why are you making Me an alabaster statue, a thing with no hearing, no sight, and no understanding? I am fully alive!  I am alert to all the goings on in your life!  Share your life with Me, and I will share eternal life with you!”   Don’t be sad and frustrated like I was because of my lack of exercise – it was always available to me, right outside my front door.  Jesus too, is always there, always available!  Rejoice!

Fr. George McKenna

September 30, 2018 Posted by | Bulletins | , , , , | 7 Comments

In The House Of Mary

St. Bernadette
Our Lady of Lourdes has always held a special place in my prayer life. During my recent illness my prayers and the prayers of my family, friends and followers are being answered. I continue to improve. Thank you for your love.

September 8, 1975, the Birthday of Mary . . . I take off from O’Hare Airport on an Aer Lingus flight to Dublin Ireland for a three-month Ministry Course in that City. I was excited at this prospect of putting aside parish duties and studying the latest trends in Church Ministry. The next day I landed in Dublin and proceeded to the Redemptorists’ House of Studies, called Marianella, on the south side of the City.

My heart beats fast as I looked up at the four-story building and thought of the possibilities of growth in my mind and spirit within the confines of this holy place. I would have the company of 35 other priests from English speaking countries.

The next day, as part of my plan to make this sojourn a dedication to Mary, I took a short, quick flight to Lourdes France to the Shrine of Our Lady for three days of prayer. Back in Dublin, the dream of a lifetime began in this House on 75 Orwell Road, with the finding of new friends among my fellow priest-students, all so kind and friendly.

Over the next three months, some 32 lecturers came to speak to us about Church teachings, our personal relationship with God and about God’s precious gift to us, the Priesthood. We had tea and cookies at 3:00 every afternoon, so called “high tea”. At Noon each weekday, we priests concelebrated Mass, taking turns as Chief Celebrant. Some of the homilies given have stayed with me all these years.

The Chapel, on the ground floor, with large windows on the entire perimeter, still holds warm memories for me. The Redemptorists have a special devotion to Mary under the title of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. In my time at Marianella, a large oil painting of Mary hung on the side wall.

In the dark, sometimes stormy evenings, I prayed best by walking around the Chapel, oftentimes stopping at this icon of our Lady of Perpetual Help. Mary would look down on me with a touch of seriousness, but with a face filled with compassion and understanding. Her eyes showed interest and love for me, as I stood before her, encouraging me every evening to trust her with my fears.

I came home to Chicago in December that year, with a renewed interest in my Priesthood and a new zeal to tell my parishioners the joy that can be found in the Mysteries of our Catholic Church.

Fr. George McKenna

September 16, 2018 Posted by | Bulletins | , , , , , | 8 Comments