by Fr Richard Heilman | March 18, 2018 7:08 PM
At Mass, this Sunday, I showed an image of a woman’s hands (see image in this article) that best resembled the image of my mother’s hands; an image that is emblazoned on my mind and in my heart.
Today’s first reading:
“I will place my law within them and write it upon their hearts; I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer will they have need to teach their friends and relatives how to know the LORD” –Jeremiah 31:33-34
I don’t have any recollection of mom sitting down with me to tell me the meaning of a bible passage, but I am a priest today, and all of my five brothers and sisters go to Mass every Sunday and are very active in their parishes, because of the image of those hands emblazoned on our minds and in our hearts. Those are the hands we saw at every Mass with mom, in deep prayer. Those hands said to us, “Mom truly loves God and Our Lady very deeply, and mom would be lost without that life force of grace she is receiving. We should never take that for granted.” Without “teaching us,” we now had a longing to learn.
Fr. Bill Peckman wrote:
“A person can’t teach their children that matters of faith are low priority in decision making and then turn around and blame the church that their child abandoned the faith. You can’t teach that jobs, leisure, sports, partying, shopping, and such take precedence over worship and learning about faith and then complain that they took those lessons to heart and left the faith. If you teach them to worship idols, don’t be surprised when they do.”
I read that as, “we do not have a catechesis problem, but a problem in setting the hearts of our children on fire with a desire to love God so deeply that they truly desire to know Him more.”
You see? My parents had seven children (one has passed to eternal life), and dad spent most of his adult life trying to get a family business going (through two recessions). But, they always had “time and energy left over for others,” as they volunteered for everything and stopped and took care of people whenever they saw need. Mom was on every committee at the parish and, at one point, dad coached all of the sports teams at our Catholic grade school. Our family was first in line to wait on tables and wash dishes at every parish dinner.
Where did mom and dad get all of this energy? It is very simple. They knew where their “life force” came from. Both mom and dad were very devout Catholics.
Mom was a daily Mass goer. God bless Fr. Schuster who kept offering a 6:30 AM Mass for all the years (35) he was pastor at St. Maria Goretti in Madison, WI, even though mom (and sometimes the parish secretary) were the only ones there every morning. Both mom and dad were faithful to frequent Confessions, and both adhered to absolutely everything the Church taught. In other words, they could not conceive of a life lived away from God … their “life source.” They kept drawing from the wellspring of all life, and God filled them to overflowing.
St. Francis de Sales wrote:
“In so far as divine love beautifies our souls, and makes us pleasing to His Divine Majesty, it is called grace; in so far as it gives us strength to do good, it is called charity; but when it reaches such a degree of perfection that it makes us not only do the good, but do so carefully, frequently and readily, then it is called devotion.”
Once we submit, we are set free from the weight of worldly burdens.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
Yes! Once we come home to God, and stay home, He pours such a huge amount of supernatural grace into us, that it spills out into the lives of those around us. Mom and dad would, quite literally, splash onto the scene of everyone they encountered, and pour all of the “left-over” grace they had into the lives of others.
I’ve heard many talk of a fear of generational curses. They believe only some kind of exorcism will break this curse. No … Let your children see the fire of your authentic love for God, with the “evidence” being your love and care for all those around you, beginning with your Catholic family … your parish! That will bring “Generational Blessing” to yours and to 1000 generations!
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.
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