Empty

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There are points in life that we understand to be good and bad; the highs and lows. We accommodate ourselves to them and can acknowledge the moment. We remember those moments or days and even if painful, they become part of our makeup. What may not be understood, is a sense of “empty” perhaps from burnout or hurt. Time is the great healer, but even once healed, what fills the hole where the hurt once was. Or perhaps the hurt is still there and the pain has emptied us of the joy and hope that should be ours.

I have written before about the hurting and the problems that come with that. There seems so much hurt in the world and many people ask me about that and what can be done for them and others. I believe that as people abandon God and organised religion the hole that is left in our lives is simply filled with something else. That spot, that vacuum cannot remain there. So generally people replace God with ideologies and consumerism. But these can never replace God. it is only a temporary solution and not a good one.

In poor and developing countries where faith is still strong they seek wealth and look to their faith for comfort in difficulties. In countries that are wealthy there is no longer a need for God, and instead the people seek freedom FROM religion for freedom OF religion. And in wealthy Western countries persecution of Christians is fast becoming the norm as Christians and Christianity are deemed to be intolerant in pluralistic Western societies. And at the same time other religions are given a great deal of tolerance even when their basic tenants are not. (And I have self censored in this post so as not to cause outrage by other religions and be seen as intolerant).

How then can the emptiness be filled by so many in our societies? People need to remain open to God and religion. People have found an innumerable excuses for not attending church. And all of them come down to the basic wish not to have to go to church. In order to “find God” each person must actively seek Him. He is there to be found and is never far away. It is up to us not to close the door or push Him out of our lives.

Don’t give up. Don’t let the world fill that empty space. Let God do that. It is God who is the real answer, the healer, the “infiller”.

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Spiritual Direction

…don’t give up searching for one if you feel the need to have one. Perhaps the priest you meet really is too busy for this very demanding work or too occupied with the myriad of of issues in his multiple parish assignment. Keep praying, and going to Mass, especially daily if possible, read Scripture and the works of the saints and Church Fathers…

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Holy Hope

At Christmas we hear of the coming of the Saviour and therefore the coming of Holy Hope. We celebrate the birth of the Messiah and relive the moments with Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, the angels. We hear “Be not afraid…this is good news of great joy to all the people” (Luke 2, 10) This is living hope. Sung by the angels and witnessed by the poor, not the rich. Why then should this be important, this hope? Because after more than 2000 years since his birth we still have poverty and illness, and social ills. We still need that hope coming with the message of the angels.

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The Next Time Through

I discovered two deaths this year. That may surprise you knowing I am a priest and have frequent funerals for parishioners and others who I am asked to commemorate. But this year I was looking on line for a friend and found her obituary. I was stunned and cried. She was so beautiful, had two little girls, husband, served in The Salvation Army with me where we met. We studied at university together and had part-time jobs together.

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