by Kathy Christianson
Good morning everyone.
When I was preparing for the readings and homily for today, I chuckled when I saw the Gospel assigned to today. I think the Lord gave me this opportunity to speak about Love because I am working so hard to be consist in Love and Forgiveness.
You all know that I am studying to become a Deacon in this wonderful church (which is one of my greatest honors). In my studies, I have come to know and believe to be true that the way to freedom, the path to happiness and the road to a life fulfilled is through love.
My confession to you is that I resisted this knowledge. I have gone through my years with the belief of an ‘eye for an eye’ or you hurt me and I will hurt you back. If I was hurt, I would stay in the sorrow.
Then, through my relationship with Deacon Jean, I have learned that when I feel I have been wronged, I have come to understand that the things I can only control in these matters is myself. I can control my feelings and my reactions. I came to realize that staying in sorrow only left me in darkness – constantly think about the injustice, maybe plotting a way to “get even”. And I mean constantly – waking and trying to sleep. It was not a good feeling.
I learned from Deacon Jean and through my readings, specific steps that can be taken when we feel we have been wronged. We can:
• Feel the hurt feelings and then let them go. Letting go in this case means not thinking about them again
• If the person who I feel wronged me keeps popping up into my head, I can bless this person. I surround them with Light and Love and then I let them go. If they come into my head 1,000 times, then I do this 1,000 times until what they did goes away. And it will go away.
• The way that works well for me is to go into gratitude. I start listing off things and people that I am grateful for. You can’t be angry or hurt and be in gratitude at the same time.
• We can not harbor a grudge. Instead, pray for that person – that they find happiness and peace. This will leave us with our own sense of peace because we don’t go to the dark place where grudges live.
• I work hard at not talking ill of others. I hear my mother whispering in my ear, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” My mother lived by this life lesson and she was very good at it.
• Who are we to sit in judgment of others – what we think others should do or what they shouldn’t have done? I have a brother, the youngest in our family. He has mental health issues and has made choices in his life that have hurt a lot of people. By praying very hard on this, for a long time, I have finally been able to separate him, the brother I love, from his choices. I have not forgotten his choices but I love him.
This is loving your “neighbor” but also loving yourself. By consistently coming from a place of love, we are happy. We are not weighed down with anger, resentment or revenge. This in turn makes us healthy in body, mind and spirit. Science today has proven that there is a direct connection between our thoughts and actions and our health. Living in negativity – not coming from a place of love – causes the body to break down in the way of disease
I have come to believe that this is why Jesus came here. He came to teach us This Way of living with each other. That each person we see whether it be our significant others, our family, friends, community or even strangers among us are all part of God and should be treated with love, kindness and respect.
And sometimes this is a really hard thing to do when someone is being a bully, saying mean things about people or groups of people. When someone is making fun of someone else, like someone with a physical disability. We still need to find a good in that person – look beyond their words and actions and seek the goodness of their heart. Not an easy thing to do…but it’s doable.
I have come to believe that while all this work is hard, sometimes really hard, the more we try, the more we practice, the easier it comes. It becomes a way of life.
Love is The Way. Love will Conquer All.