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Homesickness

Entrance to a Metra commuter rail station in Chicago, designed in Art Nouveau style as a replica of a Paris Métro station Photo by J. Crocker via Wikipedia

Entrance to a Metra commuter rail station in Chicago, designed in Art Nouveau style as a replica of a Paris Métro station
Photo by J. Crocker via Wikipedia

One Sunday morning, on a crowded Paris subway train, I overheard the conversation of two men standing next to me.  One said, “I wish I had a Sun-Times.”  As they moved out of the train, I said to them, “You must be from Chicago.”  Looking surprised, one answered, “Yes, how did you know?”  The answer was quite evident.  This man, a long way from Chicago, was expressing a spirit of homesickness: a deep desire to be with his loved ones and with the language familiar to himself.

No one can describe homesickness, a terrible empty feeling of desolation and desperation.  I remember being homesick my first year in the Major Seminary.  Being away from home for the first time, along with a strict schedule, I fell into a miserable state of mind.  At that time, I wrote to my family, “I’m coming home.”  Somehow or other, I stayed, but I will never forget the terrifying emotions of the experience.

In varying degrees, we all experience this homesickness in our daily living.  While you may have as ideal living conditions as possible, a good family life, excellent health, a satisfying style of work, still sometimes, you may feel an emptiness of spirit.  You can’t put your finger on what is troubling you.  Understand that this could be homesickness for God and Heaven, our true home.  You can only deal with this positively by bringing more of God into your life here on earth.

We can’t take away this gnawing feeling of un-fulfillment by buying more appliances for the home or taking more vacations, but rather the solution lies in trying to come closer to God through prayer and worship.

Unfortunately, some people don’t understand the reason for this desolation and loneliness of spirit.  In a misguided way, they try to fill this vacuum with more and more pleasures, drugs, accumulation of money and material things, and oftentimes, promiscuous, sexual lifestyles.  These efforts only increase the misery of the soul, because God has little space to breathe in such cluttered hearts.

Fr. George Mc Kenna

November 18, 2015 Posted by | Bulletins | , , , , | 2 Comments

To Love Is An Acquired Skill

Carl Heinrich Bloch's painting of Gethsemane

Carl Heinrich Bloch’s painting of Gethsemane

In January of 1982, an Air Florida jet plane crashed in the icy waters of the Potomac River shortly after takeoff from Washington D.C.  A short time after the disaster, a rescue helicopter hovered over the six struggling survivors in the frigid water and ferried them on by one to the nearby shore.  One survivor, Arland D Williams Jr., a middle aged man, kept putting the rescue harness on the others until he alone was left.  When the helicopter returned for the last time to snatch this man from the waters, he had slid beneath the surface to his death, a hero of charity.

If someone had asked the man a week before the accident; “Would you give up your life for strangers?’, his answer may have been like many of us, “I don’t know if I would be able to do that.”  However, when faced with the issue in the freezing waters of the river, “My life or the lives of these other people”, he did not hesitate to sacrifice his life for strangers.

From that incident, I want to point out that we generally underestimate the great storehouse of love that we have in our hearts.  We are not born with the skill to love, but rather through practice we acquire this ability to care for others.  Compare this experience of learning to love with the experience of learning how to type or to swim.  These skills are all acquired through practice.  Each time we do a loving thing we increase our ability to love, to be a caring person.

Be conscious as you carry out loving actions, such as forgiving those who have hurt you, being patient with others, helping those in need; you are increasing your powers to love.  In a hundred different ways, you can show kindness and consideration to others.  There is no limit to this expansion of your heart.  What a splendid, consoling truth to cherish about life in our daily struggles to be generous hearted people.  As we near the end of our Lenten journey, what better example do we have – our Savior, who also gave his life, so that others could live?

Fr. George Mc Kenna

March 14, 2015 Posted by | Bulletins | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments