Monday, December 15, 2008

Deacon Faulkner's Homily

Here's yesterday's homily from Deacon Mark Faulkner, a dear friend of ours. I love that Mark just gets to the point and is glass half full, in spirit and in practice.

So I was contemplating the readings for this Sunday and I couldn’t help but think that some people might feel a bit of a disconnect. Listen to these ... From the first reading: Glad tidings to the poor, liberty to captives, release to prisoners, a year of favor, I rejoice heartily. From the psalm: My spirit rejoices, call me blessed, great things for me, filled the hungry, my soul rejoices. And from the second reading: Rejoice always, give thanks, don’t quench the spirit, be preserved.

And then conversely these, just a random grab of headlines from this past week: Automakers working to reduce their ranks, Job-seekers get low-ball offers, November home sales tank, Major hotels close doors, Taxes fall short, and from Father Joe Pat Breen “Pastors see upswing in anxiety.”

Glad tidings vs. bad tidings. Liberty to captives? Liberty from debt would be nice. Release to prisoners? From prisons of fear and anxiety? A year of favor? Versus a year of recession! Rejoice heartily? Blessed? Great things? Be preserved? (I’d like my 401-k to be preserved!)

The second reading speaks of “the God of peace.” And so I ask, do you feel at peace? I hope so, but I hear the angst of the reality of those headlines in the voices and words of many people I talk to. And do you feel a sense of rejoicing? It may just be me but I sense a slightly more muted tone this Christmas.

We are in the midst of preparing to celebrate the coming of the Prince of Peace into the world, but are we welcoming Him into OUR world? Our personal world. Because if we do that, then we CAN, despite anything, we can be at peace. We can feel a sense of joy and rejoicing.

I always marveled at the stories of how Maximilian Kolbe smiled and stayed positive even as he was tortured and starved to death in a Nazi concentration camp. Even as he suffered and died, he was at total peace, leading other prisoners in song and prayer. He had a deep peace that caused him to be happy, no matter how terrible the circumstances.

I want that peace. I love that peace. I want you to have it, too. And guess what, it’s really pretty easy to get.

But it starts with, and has to have, silence. If we want to truly be at peace, we must immerse ourselves in rich silence at least 10 minutes everyday (or more if you are able) ... in the quiet of the deep of the night when laying awake ... or in the early morning hours before everyone else is up…with the door shut and the phone turned off in the afternoon. Seek and capture silence.

And then, in that silence, clear your mind, let everything go, deflect distracting thoughts. Use deep breathing, focus on yourself deeply breathing in life and exhaling with deep peace. And maybe, try using the Divine Mercy mantra ... simply “Jesus, I trust in you” ... Jesus, I trust in you ... Jesus, I trust in you.

And then slowly start to share the things that you care about, that you are concerned about, with Him. Talk silently with Him. Be candid. Tell the Prince of Peace what troubles you ... what you are grateful for ... and then listen in silence. He wants to enter your world.

If you do that, everyday ... you WILL rejoice at the peace He brings.

No matter what.

1 comment:

Renee Brown said...

Jim, Talk about waking up to a message!

The book I am currently reading, "Love Heals" by Shannon Peck, speaks about the same method.

Just starting our day with quiet time to reflect on our love for God, thanking Him, being silent, and really listening to God. Asking Divine Love to guide you throughout your day, brings the most amazing "coincidental" meetings in your path, filled with love and meaning.

As we are deprived of some of our "things" this year, may we get back to remembering the true meaning of Christmas, and may God bless us all, everyone.


Renee and company