God is Good!

Seek the Lord while He may be found!

Prayer, The Key To Holiness

The Lord’s Prayer, by James Tissot, Via Wikipedia

Years ago I had lunch with a priest friend, a Father John, a man of my own age.  Born in Yugoslavia, Father John had spent over 3 years in a Russian Siberian prison camp, his only crime being that he was a Catholic Priest.  Prison rules forbade possession of anything religious, such as rosaries, prayer books and pictures.

Not able to offer Mass, still the priest enjoyed the freedom of raising his mind and heart to God oftentimes each day.  When he came out of Siberia, he was in excellent spirits, despite the miserable food, the inhuman treatment and the harsh cold.

At lunch that day, Father John said to me, “I saw many prisoners give up on life because they refused to turn to God, or they didn’t know how to pray.  Prayer”, he went on, “made the difference between life and death for me.”   I remember thinking to myself that day, “Here sitting across from me is a living example of the power of prayer.”

Through the years, I have found the practice of prayer to God the best of all adventures.  Through this conversation with our Creator, weak, human beings bring His Power, Goodness and Beauty into their lives.  Every man, woman and child can life their minds and hearts to the Lord.

Temptations to evil constantly make us conscious of our human weaknesses.  Only by prayer to the Lord and His Mother Mary, can we succeed in turning away from alluring attractions.  In such time, I say, “Lord Jesus, and Mary our mother, help the poor, the sick and they dying.”  I distract myself from the evil by asking help for others.

Prayer makes the difference between despair and a strong hope in the beauty of life.  Father John, the ex-prisoner of Siberia, helped me to believe in the power of prayer.

Fr. George Mc Kenna

August 11, 2017 Posted by | Bulletins | , , , | 1 Comment

Happiness Only Comes From Within

Christ and the Samaritan Woman by Stefano Erardi
In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells the woman at the well
where she can find eternal happiness.

For the first 25 years of my Priesthood I served the Chicago Archdiocese as a full time teacher of youth. It all began at Maryville Academy in Des Plaines, at the time a year round home for 850 children, ranging in age of nursery age toddlers to high school seniors: aptly named, “The City of Youth”.   After a five year assignment there, I went on to 20 years as a teacher at Quigley Seminary, the training ground for future priests. I never foresaw all of this!

Immediately I chose St. John Bosco, the Apostle of Youth, as my favorite Saint. I read and re-read every biography of his life that I could find to help me in the difficult work of helping young people grow into living images of Jesus Christ. In his time in Turin, Italy, (a northern industrial city, Don (Father) Bosco took boys off the street and prepared them for life. In his daily talks to his children, Don Bosco often repeated his favorite maxim . . . “There is no happiness in sin.” I traveled to Turin a number of times!

I found myself repeating his words to the youngsters I taught! We are always seeking happiness. Each choice we make, whether we realize it or not, is based on our pursuit of happiness, fulfillment and contentment. Some examples of these choices could be, the food we buy, the work we choose to do, the man or woman we take as our spouse, the school we attend.

In life, the world, the flesh, the devil – all offer us many choices, many of them against God’s Will for our lives: dishonest money, broken vows, and addictive drugs. If we accept these forbidden things, we bring much unhappiness into our hearts. Cry out . . . “There is no happiness in sin!” I personally found this saying a powerful means of turning from these attractive and alluring choices. The true picture of my search then becomes evident.

Happiness comes from within! It’s an inside job! Happiness isn’t found in our big house, the cars in the driveway, a fat bank account or the companionship of other men and women. Happiness springs from our heart! My favorite Beatitude: “Happy are they who hunger and thirst for holiness, They shall have their fill.” What a helpful custom to say this to ourselves often!

If we are unhappy, discontented with life and despairing – refuse to blame this on someone or something that we do or do not have. Remember – Happiness comes from within! Perhaps we are making the wrong choices, putting emphasis on the wrong things. There is no happiness in sin. I always pray that my former students are using this in their search for peace!

 

Fr. George Mc Kenna

March 19, 2017 Posted by | Bulletins | , , , , , | 6 Comments