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25th of February 2018

Moral Values

Transforming Us from Within

An elderly widow named Jacqueline spent all her time caring for her grown daughter Marie, who was disabled and confined to a wheelchair. When Marie died, Jacqueline lost her purpose in life. Her small cottage seemed empty and lonely; occasionally a friend or relative would call, but overall the solitude became very oppressive. Then one day, while reading the Bible, Jacqueline came across St. Paul’s words “The Lord is near” (Phil. 4:5), and she thought, “If the Lord is near, I should try to be more aware of it.” She prayed, “Lord, I’m going to use my God-given imagination to visualize how present You are, and I ask You to help me remind myself of Your presence.” From then on, Jacqueline began talking to the Lord throughout the day in a very down-to-earth manner: “I’m going to bed now, Lord; please watch over me as I sleep,” or “I’m getting up now; I thank you for this new day,” or “Thank You for this food I’m having for breakfast,” or “Now that lunch is over, Jesus, let’s watch the news on TV, so You can show me people suffering and in need for whom I should pray,” or “As I read this book, Lord, teach me something important I didn’t know before,” and so on. As Jacqueline began imagining she was talking to Someone right there in the room with her, her attitude changed. Her loneliness lessened, her joy increased, and she felt she was doing her part—in a simple, humble, but important way—to help make God’s Kingdom more present in the world (Robert J. Morgan, Nelson’s Complete Book of Stories, Illustrations, & Quotes, p. 397).

Each one of us is also called to be more aware of God’s presence in our lives, and to let this awareness begin changing or transforming us from within. This process can begin here in church. The angels and saints are here with us, also worshipping God—and if we can see them in our imagination, so much the better. The Lord Himself is speaking to us in the words of Scripture, and presiding at the altar—and in a short while He will actually enter within us in Holy Communion. When we leave here, we can choose to take His presence with us back to our homes—and in our homes we should have crucifixes and religious statues and pictures to remind us that He is with us. We should also try to think of Jesus and His Mother Mary throughout the day, along with our guardian angels and favorite saints, speaking to them very simply and freely whenever we have a spare moment. Even if we only have a few seconds, we can silently thank them, ask for their help, and share our joys, sorrows, worries, and other feelings. The more we try to live in this manner, the more we will be aware of and part of God’s Kingdom, whether through clear moments of grace, or simple, fortunate coincidences—and the more we will be able to bear witness to Jesus in our words and deeds, and find great joy in doing so.

Jesus summoned some simple, relatively uneducated fishermen to follow Him—and their obedience to His call and their openness to God’s grace helped change the world. Our own efforts to live out and share the Gospel probably won’t be nearly as dramatic as that of the apostles, or even of former Protestant ministers who converted to Catholicism, but we too can help make a real difference simply by becoming more aware of God’s presence and by allowing Him to work through us and touch the people around us. As Jesus says, “This is the time of fulfillment; the Kingdom of God is at hand.” It’s up to each one of us to believe, remember, and share this good news by the way we live.

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