From Fr. Nicholas…….
With the advent of this beautiful season of the year, it is also wonderful to witness the launching of the various activities of St. Michael Parish. The religious education program, men’s group, youth groups, study groups, RCIA, confirmation class and meetings of the various other groups are clearly a sign of a vibrant parish. Fr. John Baptiste from Cameroon who joined us for the Holy Eucharist a few weeks ago, and an American Marianist missionary who recently visited me were greatly inspired by the enthusiasm of St. Michael Parish. I am also struck by the fact that we have new members joining our Parish from other parts of the world. Let us continue to reach out and welcome our new Parish members.
One of the gentlemen asked the Marianist visitor to summarize in a sentence or in a word or two about his 35 year, missionary experience in India and Nepal. It took a while for my Marianist friend to formulate his response, and he summarized it in two words, “Patience and Perseverance.” He explained how back in India things never get done on time or according to your expectations and how easily rules and laws are violated. He said that after going through a huge cultural shock and transition, he had to work hard to practice patience and perseverance. This helped him in his cultural assimilation and in his own growth and openness to another reality. Patience is a very challenging virtue. My patience is often tested when I am driving or waiting for people who do not show up on time. Sometimes I find myself losing patience over small, insignificant issues. Periods of quiet time, prayer, music, exercise and certainly nature seems to help me deal with my impatience. As you get busier, pressure from work, school activities, and family can easily take a toll on your physical and emotional health. Your patience will be tested, and I hope you will find some time during the weekends to relax with your family, friends and even your pets and also enjoy the beauty of nature. The beauty and serenity of nature can have a tremendous calming effect on us and uplift our spirit. On Wednesday this past week, the first reading for the Holy Eucharist was taken from 1 Cor 13:4.. “Love is patient, love is kind, it is not jealous, love is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.” As you get busy with your work, family and activities of your children and grandchildren, I invite you to reflect as to how will you live out the Christian love envisioned by Paul in your life, in your family and work place. Perhaps our world would become a much better place if we begin to strive towards practicing this kind of Christian love envisioned by Paul. If my Marianist mentors, teachers, friends and my parents had not been patient, kind and forgiving towards me, I would not be where I am today, and ministering in your midst. They were very patient with my limitations, my rebellion, my mistakes and failures. They encouraged and challenged me with patience, charity and love, and that made the difference. How can we practice Christian love in our daily life in simple ways? Perhaps a simple gesture or word of kindness to not only those who are familiar but even to a stranger, words of encouragement and support to your children, grandchildren, co-workers, perhaps reaching out and praying for someone in need, and practicing patience and tolerance with the limitation and mistakes of others. How about focusing on the positives while also expecting improvement and growth in ourselves and others? Paul says to the Corinthians and to you and me, “If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.” (1 Cor: 13:1-2)
God bless you and have a wonderful week.
Fr. D’Cruz Nicholas