Doing for Others
BY MADISYN TAYLOR
In doing service for others, we often find answers to our own questions and solutions to our own problems.
When we feel bad, often our first instinct is to isolate ourselves and focus on what’s upsetting us. Sometimes we really do need some downtime, but many times the best way to get out of the blues quickly is to turn our attention to other people. In being of service to others, paradoxically, we often find answers to our own questions and solutions to our own problems. We also end up feeling more connected to the people around us, as well as empowered by the experience of helping someone.
When we reach out to people we can help, we confirm that we are not alone in our own need for support and inspiration, and we also remind ourselves that we are powerful and capable in certain ways. Even as our own problems or moods get the better of us sometimes, there is always someone else who can use our particular gifts and energy to help them out. They, in turn, remind us that we are not the only people in the world with difficulties or issues. We all struggle with the problems of life, and we all feel overwhelmed from time to time, but we can almost always find solace in service.
In the most ideal situation, the person we are helping sheds light on our own dilemma, sometimes with a direct piece of advice, and sometimes without saying anything at all. Sometimes just the act of getting our minds out of the obsessive mode of trying to figure out what to do about our own life does the trick. Many great inventors and artists have found that the inspiration they need to get to the next level in their work comes not when they’re working but when they’re walking around the block or doing dishes. We do ourselves and everyone else a great service when we take a break from our sorrows and extend ourselves to someone in need.
The reign of God is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground,
is the smallest of all the seeds on earth;yet when it is sown it grows up
and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches,
so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade. —Mark 4.30-32
You are a tiny speck of God’s infinite love.
When you let yourself be sown into this world,
given to low places,
what seems tiny unfolds,
because it is God,
and becomes great,
a cedar of Lebanon, a mighty oak of love,
a safe refuge for the weary,
a source of life and comfort for the meek,
a welcome home for God’s little ones.
We only see the seed,
but the unfolding awaits.
Eye for Eye
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’[a] 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
Friends, today’s Gospel gives Jesus’ teaching about non-resistance to evil people. We are continually wanting God to behave as we would, that is to say, withdrawing his love from those who don’t deserve it and giving his love to those who do deserve it. But this is just not the way God operates.
Why should you pray for someone who is persecuting you? Why shouldn’t you be allowed at least to answer him in kind—an eye for an eye? Because God doesn’t operate that way, and you are being drawn into the divine life. Why should you turn the other cheek to someone who has struck you? Because it’s practical? No, because that’s the way God operates, and you’re being called into the divine life. Why should you go beyond simply loving those who love you? Because that’s the way God operates: he loves the saints and he loves the worst of sinners.
Is any of this easy to do? Of course not. Are we able to get to this state through willing it, through earnest practice? Of course not! That’s why love is referred to as a theological virtue. It is the sheerest participation in the divine life, and it can only come from God. – Daily Gospel Reflection by Bishop Barron
We do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ…
It is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”
who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge
of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
But we have this treasure in clay jars,
so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power
belongs to God and does not come from us.
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed….
—2 Corinthians 4.5-8
Here is the secret to happiness:
you are not the jar.
You are the light.
The jar cracks and breaks.
The light spills out.
Nothing can hurt the light.
Breath prayer: Godly ∙ ray
We may not be able to change the world, but we can always view the world differently. Marv
Note that the original purpose of this special day was reconciliation. At the end of the Civil War, it was a time for coming together to honor those who had made the ultimate sacrifice. We’d like to see the dual purposes of this day — remembrance and reconciliation — resurrected.
“Loving God, we pray to you for people of every race, religion, language and nation. Help us always to respect and love each other for You have made us all. Let those who have given their lives for the sake of justice, peace and freedom be rewarded by your generous love. May their families and friends, and we who honor them today, remember them with love, now and always. Amen” Rev. Ron Gagne
A Prayer for Deployed Soldiers
inspire those who are overseas for the cause of peace.
Send your Son, Jesus Christ, as the Prince of Peace.
Bless the men and women of our military
who respond to the needs of peacekeeping.
Keep them safe from harm.
Let them be models of discipline and courage,
and bring them home safely to their loved ones.
We ask this in your name.
—from God and Country: Reflections for Catholics in the Military
There’s a Hawaiian bird called the Iwa. (Pronounced “Eva”) This bird is a very meaningful bird in the Polynesian culture. The Iwa is at times referred to as the “Storm Bird”. The Iwa is 43 inches long. It soars and glides gracefully with a wing span of seven feet. They often travel great distances but rarely soar further than 50 miles from land. This bird has the resilience to withstand storms, even flying for hours and days in its search for food. They are able to travel great distances. They fly offshore even though their feathers are not waterproof. They swoop down in the ocean and snatch their prey using their hook like beaks.
Polynesian fisherman look to these birds while fishing. If the Iwa is flying above them, they know they are in a good fishing area. They also look for the Iwa to find their way back home when they are out at sea.
Often times, like the Iwa, we find ourselves soaring through our own storm. Some of us have the resilience to keep flying and never give up. Others simply throw in the towel and give up. I’m not one of those people. I never give up, even on the days I want to.
There’s a passage in Matthew 6-26. It says:
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not more valuable than they.”
The Iwa doesn’t have waterproof feathers, yet they don’t worry. God always provides. They soar and will fly for days looking for food. If the Iwa doesn’t worry why should we? If God provides for the Iwa, he will certainly provide for you and me.
If you are facing any challenge today, remember the Iwa. Keep flying and never give up.
Today I will soar through all of my trials like the Iwa believing that no matter what, god will always provide.