LET IT aLL sTART hERE
For Catholics who care...
"A lover asked his beloved: Do you love yourself more than you love me? The beloved replied: I have died to myself and I live for you." Rumi
It is rare these days that someone you only casually know cares enough about you to invite you to fall in love. Even rarer, that the same person possesses the wherewithal to successfully orchestrate a meeting through which the lover and beloved can find each other. Yet, that is what happened to us New Year’s Day during the solemnity of Mary, Holy Mother of God when our pastor punctuated his homily with this reminder: “She (Mary) longed for the birth of Jesus with love beyond all telling, so does she long for us, to fall in love with Him.” He concluded the celebration by encouraging over two hundred of his parishioners to attend First Friday Holy Hour. He assured us that by sitting with Jesus we can cultivate our love for Him. It is there, during that time of admiration… during that time of quietude and internal dialogue (prayer) that we would get a chance to know Him better. It is a time of discovery and a way to come to Love?
It's the first Friday of the month and I just returned from the Hour of Adoration dedicated to our Lord. There were less than 25 in attendance; the majority of these "church goers" being the “die-hards” or what I like to call our parish’s “Giants of Prayer”. They are the same blessed faces that I see regularly at all the liturgies. But what of the others? I find myself wondering what keeps people away from Love? What blocks the desire? What stops a woman from being curious about this vehicle (Holy Hour) that is capable of heralding her to the person of our Lord Jesus Christ? What prevents a man from sacrificing an hour of his time to check it out? After all, doesn’t everyone long to be in love?
The conclusion I have come to is simple, yet profound. I discovered the answer lies in these familiar words: “…forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:24) “They know not what they do…” echoes through time and space. It's the reason Jesus gave nearly 2000 years ago to excuse our killing Love. Even now Jesus’ observation is tragically timeless. With those few words He eternally encapsulates the predicament of mankind. We so often don’t know what we are doing. We say: If I had only known? We say: I didn't know or I wish I'd known. We sometimes say it too often. And then it is too late.
We act or fail to act because we are simply unaware. For example, many don't really know who He is at all. I know I didn't for longest time.
So, what can be done for the believers who are plagued with their unbelief? What can be done for the faithful who prefer to meet Jesus on their terms, rather than His? Then, they fail to meet Him at all because they don’t have the time to find Him. What can be done to avoid 20/20 hindsight?
What can be done? Why not try this: Let us all speak knowledgeably and unceasingly about the History of Our Salivation. Educate the “cradle Catholics” who believe they know all there is to know about their faith, but who often possess a “childish” understanding of who God is. Give them detail after detail so they can connect the dots. Then… remind, promote, encourage... insist they bring themselves to Church as frequently as possible. I’m no fan of Woody Allen, but I will always remember his saying: “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” That is what I did. That is what I continue to do. I trust in the Triune God and I keep showing up. The more time people spend in the company of our “Giants of Prayer”, the more opportunities they get to feel how the Church exhales The Holy Spirit or vibrates as The Word is made Man, the greater the chance of a successful union with Christ.
Follow this blog to learn about the details of First Friday Holy Hour. Understand what happens there and then attend an Hour of Adoration. It's a beautiful experience. Oh... and never under estimate, not for one minute, that Love makes the world go round.