Monday, November 9, 2009

Stupid is what stupid does.

Autumn Greetings my friends,

Have you ever done something was just plain stupid? I mean, one of those things where the first time you think about it, it sounds good, maybe even gives you a little chuckle, or makes you believe you really are as smart as you think you are. Then you get into doing it and soon you’ve past the line where you are now totally committed and the voice of reason (which apparently was vacationing somewhere far away from the rest of you when the planning of this thing took place) begins to scream, “DON’T DO IT!” But you do it anyway. Then you sit back thinking to yourself that you have outsmarted reason and have done something good. Maybe it was for a family member, maybe it was for co-worker, or a friend, whomever and you just wanted to make them laugh, or brighten their day or do something you thought would bring a moment of happiness. Then they see it, or receive it, or experience it and even as you continue to revel what you did you begin to see in their eyes, or hear it in their voice, “Why have you done this?” Then in wave after wave the stupidity washes over you and you begin to drown in your own carelessness.

Why didn’t you listen to reason?

This happened to me recently. I had a friend who I thought could use a little special treatment that only I could give and so I planned and I plotted and I put it into play. Then not too long afterward this friend called me up and felt totally the opposite of what I had intended. And to add insult to injury I found out that I even touched on an emotional nerve within this person that not only made what I did stupid, but also painful. This one ill-conceived act on my part may have cost me a friendship that I hold very dear. Simply because I was stupid.

I prayed about it a great deal the rest of the week and it struck me what was missing from this series of events, it was prayer. I had allowed myself to be tricked into believing that I could do something apart from finding a place for God within it.

“I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me,” it reads in St. Paul’s Letter to the Philippians 4:13 and I think that we need to pay a lot more attention to that statement. So often I can convince myself that God can stay on the outskirts of my life and my relationships, that I can find the strength and the wisdom to get through them by myself. But I can’t leave God out, because when I do then I turn stupid.

The great parable of the King’s banquet in the Gospel of Matthew 21:1-14 is another fitting illustration of human stupidity. These people are invited to banquet a dinner party and they kill the messengers. Think about for a moment, you sitting at your desk at work, or wherever you happen to be when someone comes up to and says, “I heard that there’s an open buffet, all you can eat over at the this five star restaurant. They’re also providing a live band for dancing. Oh, and its all for free! Do you want to go?” You’re response is to turn towards them and shoot them. It seems a bit extreme, even out of proportion doesn’t it? Well, we do this every time we don’t time to pray our relationships. Every time we think we can guide ourselves where we should be going with this person, be they a spouse, a family member or a friend we are taking giant steps toward killing that relationship. Why, because God is the one who set the table and unless we join in the feast we’re just playing in the “darkness.”

Look at your significant relationships. The times when they have been at there lowest have been the times when greed, or selfishness, or jealousy, or unforgiveness have been the ruling factor. When we have allowed the human stupidity of the moment to blind us to the beautiful gift that God has given us in bringing that other person into our lives. When we begin to kill the messenger of God’s love to us that this person may very well be. When we start thinking only about “Me” and forget “Us.”

You can’t have a party alone (well, you can, but its gonna be real boring) and God has prepared a great banquet for each of us to attend. How do we get in? We start learning how to truly love each other here and now. What that must mean is that I don’t control the relationship, love does, God does! Only then does stupidity find no place in our relationships. Only then are we “dressing” properly for the banquet. Only then are we respecting the gift of the person God has placed before us.

As I reflect on those past events, I realize that this has not been the first stupid thing I’ve done (I know that this surprises many of you). But that I have neglected and hurt so many people in my life because I have presumed to act without relying on God’s wisdom to strengthen me. I know what it’s like to be cast out of someone’s life, “wailing and grinding my teeth.” I think we all know what that feels like. And for myself, as of this moment I am going to rededicate my life to making sure I am prepared for the “heavenly banquet” by listening to the messenger, Jesus Christ, and to all those people He sends into my life to make me feel more connected to His great love. I long to live in the “glorious riches in Christ Jesus,” as we hear in Philippians 4:19.

I don’t know if I will ever be able to repair the relationship with this friend of mine. But whether that friendship return to “abundance” or stays in “need” I will do my best to remind my friend and myself that for all my moments of stupidity I would really like to see both of us, indeed all of us gathered around God’s table, just we are right now, for all eternity.


Fr. John

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

My Saints go marching home

Hello my friends,

Well, Sunday morning I sent my visitors home. You met them all in the blog entry. At that time I had said that they would offer some final remarks before they left… which they did. So here they are… enjoy.

Hello Everyone! Jessica again. Well, I was in Boston this weekend, as you all know, and I would like to tell you about my experience. My favorite part was learning about all the history in Faneuil Hall. It was interesting to find out all of the great leaders that spoke there, and how they inspired so many people around the world. Thanks so much for listening... or reading! :)

Hey there, good people of the world!

It’s Alexis here! So today was a pretty fun day here in Boston. We started with a little visit to Cambridge. What's in Cambridge you might ask? The answer is Harvard University, obviously. Well, my favorite part of the day was... yes! Harvard! The campus was beautiful and the atmosphere was just splendid. We kept saying how I was getting smarter just walking the campus. Thanks everybody, for coming with me on my journey to Boston!

Hey kids,

Zach here. So, to sum it up, Boston is pretty wicked. The blend of architecture makes it ancient and new all at the same time. Our visit to Fenway Pahk (well, that’s how they say it) was quite an experience. Although I did wear my “James Shields” t-shirt in the open, I was not chased through the streets of Boston by rabid Red Sox fans. Fenway is indeed a gorgeous ballpark and is America's Most Beloved for a reason. Because of this experience, I now have a newfound respect and appreciation for the Boston Red Sox franchise. I will never be a fan, but there are worse things in the world.

Hey all you people,

It's Christian for all who was wondering. I love it up here in Boston we’ve had great weather and a great guide (my uncle). Fenway Park was pretty cool to go through, I also enjoyed the Duck tour, the train rides, the history, the old cemeteries (I saw were Sam Adams and Paul Revere are buried), and can't leave out the wonderful walking that we have done. I don't want to walk for another two years after all the walking I did it all up here. We all went to Church tonight and Cardinal Sean O’Malley said the Mass (it was really cool). My uncle had told us to pick our favorite place and write about it in the blog but I've come to realize that I don't have jut one favorite place to chose from that we went to or did while up here, my favorite part is the entire experience of being able to be here and enjoy all of it. Well, I would keep writing but I am tired and gotta get up at the crack of dawn to get ready to leave. Goodnight all.

And I thank you all for coming this weekend and making it one of the most relaxing I’ve had in a while. Seeing these wonderful young people, all of whom I’ve been blessed to know since they cute (yes, I did go there), I have been reminded of two things: One I am so glad I’m celibate! And second, more seriously, I am so happy that God has brought such glorious people into my family and into my life.

Next time I’ll be back to writing my own stuff. See you then.


Fr. John