Life is full of choices. I can follow my self-centered will and repartee unkindness with unkindness or strive to be the better person, trying to control my volcanic temper when it is churning into an all out eruption–an eruption that never benefits anyone. Witnessing someone else who exhibits self-control in the midst of adversity, awakens admiration and inspires like-mindedness.
A priest once told me that he knew of more than one young man who entered the priesthood because of Blessed Mother Teresa’s smile, nothing extraordinary, just her smile. But in many ways her smile was extraordinary. It was a reflection of her soul beaming through her joy-filled eyes. Those joy-filled eyes are like the eyes of my friend who takes the time out of her busy schedule to say hello, how are you? I have time for you! When we are engaged in a conversation, she could be self-absorbed and monopolize the conversation talking heedlessly about herself, but she does not. Those little acts of kindness, which appear to go unnoticed, can mean the most, especially in times of stress.
At the same time, going to church is not just about the friendships that encourage, but also about the grace that sustains us in the midst of sorrow and weakness. There are plenty of churches that offer a lively Christ-filled community. But there is only one Church that offers an intimate union with Christ, a union that offers the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ. There is only one Church that offers the grace to overcome all obstacles to holiness. There is only one Church, rich in God’s love and mercy, which offers us the opportunity to cleanse us of our sins to begin anew.
These are powerful reasons for going to church. Along the way, seeing faith put into action, embodied by those around us, can be a source of encouragement. Through others, we can experience God’s loving kindness in a concrete way.
We live in a world of competing values and virtues. Too many are dazzled by the glitter and glitz of the rich and the famous, the “hottest” sports, TV or movie celebrity making the current gossip on social media or the latest cover of People magazine. Too many admire the wrong people for the wrong reasons, subconsciously imitating their poor choices and like moths who are attracted to bright lights in the night end up getting burned.
A new year is traditionally a time for new starts.
Elizabeth Yank is offering what could be the beginning of something seriously grand.
Think on it.