“Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love”
October 4th is the day set aside each year to celebrate the life of St. Francis of Assisi. He was a kind and gentle man, with no aspirations to become a priest. The simple truth is that Francis was too humble to desire the ranks of such a vocation. Through his life and his teachings, St. Francis taught me that our destiny is not to think in terms of having a career or a job. Instead, we should think in terms of a vocation and a mission where we can be free to “be” as God desires us to be.
uncommon to have difficulties accepting and being comfortable with those who
are different from us. These feelings are often based solely on skin color,
cultural mores, or religious beliefs. But racial and cultural prejudice is a
social concept; it’s not part of our DNA. We learn prejudice in childhood, and
it becomes an unconscious bias. This filter clouds our ability to see clearly
and leads to divisive conclusions about other groups or races. It takes great tender love and often great suffering
to change us forever.
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” ~Nelson Mandela
“The greater the suffering, the greater God’s love is bestowed onto you.” Padre Pio
People have been increasingly distancing themselves from each other, even before this horrific pandemic hit. Years ago, in an interview with Self magazine, I was asked what I thought the number one contributor was to our poor health. My answer then was the same as it is now—a lack of intimacy. We’re losing the quality and ability to relate, not just to each other, but to our environment and Nature. For example, people go for walks, but instead of quietly connecting with nature, many are focused on their phones. People at my gym walk around with earbuds in and don’t make eye contact with each other. We are lonely, and most of us don’t even know it. With the sudden onset of COVID-19, we’ve isolated even more. Meanwhile, the opportunity to be present and in tune with our surroundings and each other exists every day. Even if we are physically distant, the importance our deep presence can make even the briefest or seemingly small encounters more lasting and meaningful.
A Zen master was teaching his students one day and
one student asked, “Is there anything that I can do to make myself
enlightened?” The Zen master replied and said; “As little as you can do to make
the sun rise in the morning.” The students then asked, “Then what use are the
spiritual exercises you prescribe?” And the Zen master said this; “To make sure
you are not asleep when the sun begins to rise.”
When I read the Scriptures account
of the birth of Jesus, one thing that stands out is the theme of humility. As I reflect on humility, I
realize that it is a gift that offers us enormous personal freedom and
One of my favorite passages in the Bible is the prayer Mary recites when she finds out she is going to birth the baby Jesus. CalledTheMagnificat (Luke 1:46-55), the prayer begins: “My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices.” But this is so much more than a simple prayer of praise.
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” ~Mother Teresa
of our reactions are based on pre-programed habituated behavior responses—not
fully conscious choices. When we are fully conscious and connected to Source we
realize our true purpose is to love and bring goodness to all; but we have to
be fully conscious in order to be capable of truly loving.
people live life on cruise control, with little consideration for the miracle
and meaning of existence. I believe it’s important to pause in the busyness of life,
and to take time for reflection. This encompasses not only who we are at this
moment, but more importantly, who we are capable of becoming, all while considering
the role God plays in our journey.