“After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.’ Simon said in reply, ‘Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.’ When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing.” (Lk 5: 4-6)
Our part is—“work hard,” His—“a great number of fish.” All the fruits of our apostolic work depend on Him: “at your command.” Sometimes we think that we know better—“we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing”; but even then we can say: BUT, “but at your command”… and put our trust in Him and His word and not on our experience and knowledge.
“How great is the goodness, Lord, that you keep for those who fear you.” (Communion Antiphon)
“Now, therefore, reform your ways and your deeds; listen to the voice of the LORD your God, so that the LORD will repent of the evil with which he threatens you.” (Jer 26:13)
The Church will never get tired of protecting us. It does not defend us from God, but from the life where our “ways and deeds” are far away from His. Reform and listen, listen and reform. Make a daily ritual of some minutes with the Bible, learn how to listen to Him. Listen to His word daily and learn how you can inspire your family life and workplace with God’s presence. Reform and listen – a simple rule for an outstanding life.
“I will look after my sheep, says the Lord, and I will appoint a shepherd to pasture them, and I, the Lord, will be their God.” (Entrance Antiphon)
An everyday invitation. Once born, we should be born again “from above.” To change our perspective: from my point of view into the point of view from “from above;” to change our relations: from “expectations” to “gift of self”; to change our work: from “I have to work” to “I’d like to share and serve”; to change our prayer: from “change my life for better, now” to “help me understand my role” and from “I-need-it” to “thank-You”.
“If we walk in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of his Son Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin, alleluia.” (Communion Antiphon)
“…with all your heart and with all your soul” (Dt 26:16).
No more, no less. All your heart. All your soul. It is a waste of time to do a thing from which your heart or soul are missing. How often do we have to work just for the salary, to have the money to cover our bills. So sad.
We are His children and if we have no chance to put all our heart into action – it is far below our dignity.
“Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect, says the Lord” (Mt 5:48) – Communion Antiphon
“And they were watching him to see if he would cure him on the Sabbath day, hoping for something to charge him with”. (Mk 3:2)
How awful. “Hoping for something to charge him with”. Again and again the same situation: they can use anybody for their purpose. Even an ill person, who needs help, who needs to be cured. Who needs compassion.
How often are we surrounded by the people who are used by other people: at work, in family, in daily life. Unfortunately sometimes it happens also to us. How sad.
But we have a protector. He has come to save us, to cure us, and to make us part of His family as His brothers and sisters.
He knew their heart. He knew what would happen: “ The Pharisees went out and began at once to plot with the Herodians against him, discussing how to destroy him” (Mk 3:6). And He let His emotions show: “He looked angrily round at them, grieved to find them so obstinate, and said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out and his hand was restored” (Mk 3:5).
He is our protector. He will defend us and restore our dignity. The dignity the others sometimes fail to see.
“God our Creator, we give thanks to you, who alone have the power to impart the breath of life as you form each of us in our mother’s womb, grant, we pray, that we, whom you have made stewards of creation, may remain faithful to this sacred trust and constant in safeguarding the dignity of every human life.” (Collect)
– is the place where I mostly spend the days of this week. In a large portion on confessing and conversations. It turns out that not only the EP students need a chaplain. So does the staff.
Thanks to my ministry I can also hear the hidden and so far unknown life of the Institute. Like for example the phone system equipped with loud speakers, through which different information is shared (the Mass in five minutes, lunch for all in a quarter of an hour or that it is time to say goodbye to our Maureen, who is retiring).
I also heard a short prayer flowing from te speaker. For all that is happening in the Institute, for staff, and for patients. A small reminder that we are not alone, that our work is a service and that God is lovingly watching over us – and it is Him that we serve.
Maybe we shouldn’t naively expect that we’ll be able to have the same sound system in our workplace or at home, but it is good to find something in the usual pace of the day which will remind me of the sense of my life and my work. It used to be the bells, tolling three times a day to encourage us to pray Angelus. But today in many mobile phones you’ll hear the alert reminding of Angelus, the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy or Rosary.
Whatever it is, it’s got its role – to tell me I’m a part of a larger project: God loves me infinitely and wants me to be with Him. In giving His love to the others.
We wanted so much to write here yesterday that we all could become part of the World Congress of Families audience in Sydney via live broadcasting, but – unlike in Madrid last year – it is not possible this time. This morning Fr Jay was scheduled to give a talk during the session devoted to the family in the context of work. We hope to be able to hear his talk – “Work-Life Balance: Preserving Dignity, Protecting Family”- in post-conference materials.
Before we get the sign of life from our Fr Jay, whom we proudly count among the Invited Speakers, we would like to present you with some highlights from his talk – which may be important for us all in our thinking about work. And we attach a photo memorizing his preparations for the Congress.
“The need for purposeful activity was written in human heart by God, the first Creator and Artist, who rejoiced each time He looked at the effects of His work.”
“At work you may learn to cooperate, share responsibility, and handle conflict – and all those skills will become your personal asset outside work as well.”
“Sometimes it’s necessary to pose a simple question: “Do we really need this or that item?’ – and give an honest answer, instead of fostering the belief that ‘I have no choice but to slave away day and night at the cost of everything else in order to afford all that’.”
“When you don’t schedule taking care of your relationship into your weekly planner, your marriage will die, and it’s just a matter of time.”
“Someone else may replace you at work, but no one will replace you in taking care of your family’s needs. If you make them happy, you’ll be the happiest person in the world, too.”
He was a well clad, polite gentleman. He came into my office at the end of my duty on Saturday. He said that he’d locked his car keys in the car and that he had to go back to get the other set. And that he had some paint mixing facility and he would give the money back. Well, perhaps not on Saturday but surely on Monday. He’ll give back those 10 PLN that he needs. And he asked what he could give me as a collateral. Because he could gladly give me anything.
I’m talking to him, smiling to him and to myself. I’m telling him that I don’t need any collateral and that many people came here. Some didn’t have enough money to buy a ticket, some to buy medicines (the pharmacy is close at hand), some to buy bread in the nearby discount shop… And I smile again. And I’m giving him the 10 PLN because I remember a certain nun who is a streetworker. She says that we should watch out and not let ourselves be abused. It is clear. But she also said something that stuck in my memory: that in spite of all these things we should not kill those impulses of the heart.
It is so difficult today. If I suspect that someone’s lying then perhaps it’s better not to give. But I do not identify completely with the indifference and calculating that somebody’s cheating and lying. I want to see all the people who come to me. How should I help them? How can I preserve this creativity of charity that John Paul II called for so urgently?