By Paulo Coelho October 21, 2018
Many years ago lived a man who was able to love and forgive everyone he met.
Because of this, God sent an angel to talk to him.
“God asked me to come and visit you and to tell you that He wants to reward you for your goodness,” said the angel.
“Any favor that you desire will be granted. Would you like to have the gift of curing?”
“By no means,” answered the man. “I prefer that God Himself choose those to be cured.”
“I can’t go back to heaven without granting you a miracle. If you don’t pick one, you’ll be obliged to accept one.”
The man reflected a little before answering: “Then I want Good to be done through me, but without anyone noticing – not even myself, so that I don’t commit the sin of vanity.”
And the angel gave to that man’s shadow the power to cure, but only when the sun was shining on his face.
In that way, wherever he went, the sick were cured, the earth became fertile again, and sad people regained their joy.
The man traveled many years over the Earth without noticimg the miracles he worked, because when he was facing the sun, his shadow was always at his back.
In that way he could live and die without being aware of his own sanctity.
A dear friend read this devotional at a meeting tonight. I was so moved by it I asked for a copy to bring home and read everyday. I think we’ve all been guilty a time or two in thinking the grass was greener on the other side. We make hasty decisions based on a belief that somehow the grass will be greener on the other side. Sometimes we even leave a relationship to chase another “knight in shining armor” only to find that knight was nothing more than a toad. It’s then that we realize the grass We were on in the first place simply needed a little watering.
For me this is a great reminder to find the blessing in where I am today. Emotionally, physically and spiritually. I’m not where I want to be but thank god I’m not where I used to be. I’ll just keep watering my side of the grass until the winter I find myself in finally turns to spring.
I don’t particularly like to voice my political opinions. Mainly because there is so much hostility and divide in this country right now. It seems that if I don’t believe a certain way I find myself being attacked. That doesn’t work for me. I feel Honesty, empathy, value and integrity are no longer alive and well in this country. Thats my opinion. However, whatever your political beliefs are it’s undeniable that the real hero yesterday was Mitt Romney. He stood up in the midst of a storm to stand up for his moral beliefs, his faith in god as well as his integrity. That takes courage. He gets 5 stars in my book. Like him or not…agree with him or not but as Christians isn’t that what we are supposed to do? Choose to do the right thing even when it means being condemned, bullied and vilified.
Friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus is amazed at a Roman centurion’s faith: “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” How often the Bible compels us to meditate on the meaning of faith! We might say that the Scriptures rest upon faith, remain inspired at every turn by the spirit of faith.
Faith is an attitude of trust in the presence of God. Faith is openness to what God will reveal, do, and invite. It should be obvious that, in dealing with the infinite, all-powerful person who is God, we are never in control.
One of the most fundamental statements of faith is this: your life is not about you. You’re not in control. This is not your project. Rather, you are part of God’s great design. To believe this in your bones and act accordingly is to have faith. When we operate out of this transformed vision, amazing things can happen, for we have surrendered to “a power already at work in us that can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine.” Even a tiny bit of faith makes an extraordinary difference.
“In the midst of all the violence and corruption of the world
God invites us today to create new places of belonging,
places of sharing, of peace and of kindness,
places where no-one needs to defend himself or herself;
places where each one is loved and accepted with one’s own fragility, abilities and disabilities.
This is my vision for our churches:
that they become places of belonging, places of sharing.”
— Jean Vanier in Befriending the Stranger
And, on this solemn day of memorial in the United States, remembering the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the many that perished that day, may we all pray and work for unity, understanding, love and peace.
If you want to be a successful painter, you will at first fail on numerous canvases. And if you want to be a successful mathematician, you will at first fail in solving the equations. If you want to be a successful writer, your manuscripts will be rejected endlessly until one of them isn’t. But there will never come a point when you stop failing, because that’s what creativity is about. What works can only be known against the backdrop of what doesn’t—and if you’re too afraid to ever risk establishing that backdrop, personally and professionally, then you’ll never know what success is like. In the Hebrew Bible, we have the beautiful images in Jeremiah, for example, in the potter’s house where he comes to understand that even as Israel screws everything up over and over again, God—like a potter with clay in hand—is patient and allows the remodeling to take place, allows us to try again, to become the beautiful creation intended from the beginning. If we cannot live because we fear failure, then we cannot be good Christians because it is a faith predicated on being often diametrically opposed to worldly success. If you want to be successful, you need to learn to fail well.
—from the book God Is Not Fair, and Other Reasons for Gratitude by Daniel P. Horan, OFM
I love this quote and can certainly relate. I remember living in San Francisco. I was going through chemo treatments while living with Mephistopheles in the flesh. My life sucked. I had cancer. I was enduring treatment with zero support. I couldn’t work. I was financially challenged. In short, my life sucked!!!
My priest encouraged me to do some volunteer work in the hopes it would help with the depression and sadness I was feeling at that time. I ended up volunteering at the shelter at our church. I’ll never forget the first day I went. I was feeling sorry for myself. Life sucked or so I thought. Our guests were all waiting in line outside to come in for a warm meal. That day I met some of the kindest people I’d ever met in my life. I had never met so many people with so much gratitude. All of them were homeless living on a sidewalk, a park etc. Geez, they had nothing other than a place to go to for a warm meal. Most of these people exuded so much joy and happiness. They supported one another and were so grateful for the help they were receiving.
That day was so humbling for me. I had cancer. Life sucked yet I had a place to live in a great part of the city. I had food to eat. Clothes to wear. The list goes on. I had cancer. My partner was an unsupportive and extremely mean person. I was facing my battle all alone yet I was in better shape than the guests that were at the shelter that day. I found myself so ashamed of myself. I realized just how blessed I was yet so ungrateful. I went to the back room that day and began to cry. Sister Lois came in as I was crying. She said the same words to me me written on this quote. I had so much to be grateful for yet until that day I hadn’t recognized just how blessed I was. That day changed my perspective forever.
We all go through hard times. Life sucks sometimes. However, no matter what we are going through there is always someone experiencing something worse. Count your blessings. Sometimes it’s hard to do but if we don’t how in the world can we expect a bigger blessing? I remember hearing someone say “every morning when my feet touch the floor I know it’s a great day!” Isn’t that the truth? I often find myself feeling sorry for myself and when I do, God sends me a little reminder that no matter the circumstances I am truly blessed. We all are.