This is a syndicated post from Daily Meditations with Fr. Alfonse. [Read the original article...]
Feast of St. Lawrence
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Jesus said to his disciples: “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless the grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.”
Unless the grain of wheat falls to the ground, it remains just a grain of wheat. This morning at Mass I officially brought a child, a baby, into the Church. The little girl was not expected to live long, so she received an emergency baptism while in the hospital.
After many prayers and the hard work of doctors and nurses, little “Angela” [this is not her real name] was welcomed into the Church in a touching and beautiful ceremony. I had never heard of this type of ceremony. The parents insisted on it. I looked it up and I was surprised to learn that this Rite exists in the Baptism Manual. I am so glad they insisted on it, but I wondered why. After all, she was baptized.
“We want to thank God. We don’t ever want to take our child’s life for granted.” This is what they told me. This was their response to my curiosity. I got it. I finally got it. This is today’s reading. How fitting!
Tough times can leave us breathless; speechless. This very young couple, full of energy, full of life and full of dreams, was quickly brought to their knees.
When it rains, it pours. Tough times can spiral out of control. But we don’t have to spiral out of control with them. Instead, we can do what most doctors recommend. We can sit down and close our eyes.
But what I have found that works even better than sitting down is falling down; that is, falling to our knees and praying.
Pray and be humble. Learn from this. Grow up.
Unless you fall to the ground you will never grow up. Challenges can bring tremendous stress, but they can also bring incredible growth. The death of a child can fracture closest of relationships. But it can also bring people closer together. The near loss of a child can fracture one’s faith, but it can fortify it as well.
I have often said that life is not fair. It isn’t. It’s remarkable! And it is too easy for us take it for granted. Tough times are God’s times to help us grow up and come home.
I thank God for my priesthood; for all the experiences I have had; for all the growth spurts I have experienced! It has made my life so much better. In fact, I have come to believe that I am at my very best when life is not fair to me.
Am I crazy to say that humiliation can lead us to be more honest, humble and compassionate? Or that the loss of a job can make us more of a family man? Would I be weird in saying that the less I think of myself, the happier I would be? or that the loss of someone or something will force me to reexamine my life for the better?
Difficult moments are growth spurts. They are absolutely necessary if we want to get the best out of life and eternity.
There is a story that has been circulating for some time now. It is the story of an “angel-priest” who mysteriously appeared at the scene of a car crash. He arrived just when the teenager, trapped in her car and unable to be freed, asked rescuers to stop working and to pray to God with her.
Now everyone saw the priest: firefighters, police and, of course, the injured teen. And no one knows how he got through the police barriers.
Is this a hoax? Is this an example of collective hallucination? Of course not. It is a miracle. It is the power of prayer.
The priest is not an angel. He is a priest. To me, the miracle is not so much that he got passed the police barricade or that he arrived right when this young lady asked for prayers. For me, these are miracles, but not the greatest miracle of all.
The greatest miracle of all is that he left. The priest left! I doubt I would do that.
This priest did not seek recognition. To me, that is a miracle, the biggest miracle of all. Humility is a miracle. It is God’s trademark.
Everyone at the scene agrees: the priest’s arrival and his soothing words brought comfort and confidence to all involved. He let them know that she would be freed soon.
This lady was on the ground. Her life was drifting away. Her body was full of fractures but her faith was firmly intact. She did what she needed to do. She asked for God and He sent her a priest.
And the priest left her after he prayed with her. What a beautiful ending. What a remarkable testimony.
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