The First Step Toward Heaven

Posted by James Hahn on

Luke 6:27-38

Often in Scripture we hear the disciples say, "this is a hard saying."  That was the first thing I thought while reading today's Gospel.  Do good to those who hate you?  Really?  Give to those who steal from you? Seriously?  Bless those who curse you?  Come on!  Lend money and don't expect repayment?  This is out of hand!!?

Have you ever met someone who actually lives this way?  Have you ever met someone who lives Gospel poverty?  We tend to think of them as crazy, a bit off.  It's the lady who sits two pews in front of you at church.  You know the one.  In conversation she mentions that a friend's cousin's boyfriend's brother just got out of prison and is trying to get back on his feet so she gave him her car.  "I'll just take the bus until God decides to give me another car", she says.

These people exist and they fill me with jealousy, a holy jealousy.  Lord help me to live that detached, that free, trusting you that much!!

A few years ago our parish hosted a retreat with a Franciscan Friar of the Immaculate.  I picked him up at the airport.  He was wearing his full blue-gray habit, sandals, and a watch.  He explained that the vow of poverty meant he owned nothing.  The only thing he possessed that didn't once belong to another friar and wouldn't be passed on to someone after him was his underwear.  Then too I was filled with a holy jealousy.  I too wanted to be that free, that unencumbered.  I too wanted to live as though I was already in Heaven where the things of this world are simply gifts and means to an end.

If we are to call ourselves "children of God" for that is what we are, we must imitate the Father, "for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.  Be merciful, just as also your Father is merciful."

This truly is a hard saying.  It is a challenge to live a life detached from the cares of this world and learning to live that way is a life-long process.  It is a challenge to love and be generous with those who are selfish, mean, ungrateful, and violent but it is the first step toward Heaven.

"All the things of this world are no more than dirt.  Place them in a heap under your feet and you'll be so much nearer to Heaven." - St. Josemaria Escriva, The Way #676

Saturday September 14th, 2019 the Church celebrates the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.  Enjoy this free book, Meditations on the Crucifix, for your meditation and contemplation.  Automatic code added when placed in cart.

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How to get better at prayer.
  1. Set a prayer appointment - Set a time on your calendar each day to meet and speak with God.
  2. Slowly increase your prayer time. - Don't jump in with an hour right from the get-go.  Build up your "tolerance" so to speak.
  3. Commit - to praying and slowly increasing your prayer time for 30 days.  Mark off the days on your calendar.  If you miss a day, jump right back in, don't give up.
  4. Pray - praying is talking to God, it's spending time with your attention focused on Him.  I enjoy spending time with my children regardless of their level of development.  God is the same way.  Spend time praying as best you can.  Use formal prayers if you want or simply speak in conversation.  Don't forget to listen
  5. Journal - Our newly revised 4 Simple Steps to Better Scripture Meditations: Guide, Workbook, and Journal walks you through 4 easy steps that will help you go deeper in your prayer life.  It includes 31 days of workbook and journal pages too!
  6. Read other good books about how to pray better - Prayer PrimerDeep Conversion, Deep PrayerTime for GodThe Spiritual Life: A Comprehensive Guide to Catholics Seeking Salvation.

* Contains affiliate links.  No, that doesn't mean that the kids should leave the room.  Rather, it means that if you click on a link, and if you purchase something, I may get some financial remuneration for that click and buy.  All that means is that my kids will finally get to eat, just kidding but I may get something, just so you know...

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