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Thursday, April 26, 2018

No Man is an Island: We Need Community!

Our first community is Mom
and Dad and siblings.
I went to lunch yesterday with five friends -- real friends -- not the faux Facebook kind. Fortunately the restaurant wasn't busy so we weren't keeping our waiter from serving others because we shared and laughed and lamented for almost four hours.

We talked about our children and grandchildren, the tragedy taking place at Alder Hey Hospital with the deliberate move to euthanize baby Alfie Evans, about the insanity of gender fluidity and the failure of the Catholic parishes in Bob Marshall's district to support him in his race against transgender narcissist Dan(ica) Roem.

We talked about the books we're reading and how beautiful the bluebells are at Bull Run Park. We laughed a lot and cried a little.

When I left, I felt like I'd visited the fountain of youth. That's what a supportive community of believing Catholics does for the spirit. Hopefully, we'll get together in June for a rosary lunch.

The family community spans generations.
We're in the Easter Season and almost every day we hear at Mass how the community of believers was growing day by day -- how they shared all things in common -- how those around recognized them by the way they "love one another."

Our culture stresses that we are all individuals, that our individuality is what makes us special, that we each have our own truth and that it's liberating. We don't need real relationship, hook-ups and shacking up and serial relationshiops are just fine!

That's one big, fat, lie surrounding a kernel of truth. Yes, we are individuals made in the image and likeness of God and we'll stand before Him one day in the personal judgment. But the image of God in which we share is a community. The Trinity is God in a relationship of love, Father-Son-and Holy Spirit,  and we most imitate Him in our relationships of love and I don't mean the love where you're staring at your own image in a mirror.

We are born into the community of the family out of the love between our parents and we are born again at Baptism when we enter the community of love that is the Church.

Talk to your faithful
guardian angel every day!
Even in our individuality we aren't alone since each of us has a guardian angel, a special friend who is always with us wherever we go, whatever situation in which we find ourselves. And of course, we are always close to God since if He once stopped thinking of us we would cease to exist. We are never, ever alone.

The loneliness we feel comes from our restless hearts, as St. Augustine said, which long for God. We will experience that loneliness and even alienation to the degree we separate ourselves from Creator and Redeemer. All feelings of discouragement and despair smell of sulphur since they are tools of the devil to lead us away from God. "He doesn't care about you," the devil says. "It's all a sham, opium for the people. God doesn't exist and, even if he does, he doesn't care about you. You're a plaything for his amusement."

Do we listen to Satan's lies? When we turn away from those feelings to behold the Face of Jesus, we immediately make ourselves aware of His love for us that is there every minute of every day. I keep a picture of the face of Jesus by my computer. I ask Him to remind me why I write. I ask Him and His mother Mary to inspire me to do only what is pleasing to them.

I talked to my spiritual director yesterday about family. This time in my life seems to me to be an invitation to minister to family: my spouse and children, our grandchildren, our godchildren, our extended biological families, our parish family, our local community family (especially those in nursing homes), our friends. So many people are suffering and need to know they are not alone. My little plan for today (and everyday) is to find one or two ways I can be a friend and a source of hope to someone suffering or lonely -- or just hungry for a human touch. Today it will be a letter to a godson and half a dozen postcards to grandchildren, this weekend it will be an outing with two little granddaughters playing and praying together. Next week, I hope to visit a sister who lives alone and gets out very little, a daughter and her family, and several nursing home residents. The opportunities are endless. And, of course, the best thing I can do for all of them is to take the spiritually to Mass and offer my rosary and adoration hour for each of them

Thanks to the time with friends yesterday, I feel more hopeful and more energetic. May God bless us all with friends who fit the description in the Book of Sirach:
A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter:
he that has found one has found a treasure.
There is nothing so precious as a faithful friend,
and no scales can measure his excellence.
A faithful friend is an elixir of life;
and those who fear the Lord will find him.
May God touch your life today through a faithful friend!

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