From early childhood, we are thrust into a survival mentality. As children and as youth, we experience this in the pressure to excel in school. We need to excel in order to get that scholarship that will enable us to attain to our educational and career goals. As adults, many perceive ourselves to be in a situation in which we have to struggle day in and day out, particularly at our jobs, just to survive. And so, whether at school or at work, we can become mastered by the pressure to do what we sense we have to do to get by.
With this kind of mindset, we can easily put the matter of developing friendships with the Lord and with others in His Name on the back burner. Subconsciously, we can sense that because we don’t get graded on the relationships that we develop at school or because we don’t get paid on the basis of the friendships that can develop where we work, these experiences aren’t really all that important.
Something that we can easily overlook is that the relationships that we develop with the Lord and with others in His Name offer the motivation that we need in order to do our best in the settings in which we live.
Invitations to be receptive to and respond to friendships that are offered by the Lord to us often come in a low-key manner. For example, a child wants us to teach her/him how to play a game that we enjoy. Neighbors invite us to drop in to see them. A fellow worker is having a hard time doing a task that is easy for us. Every weekend, we have a standing invitation to celebrate the Lord’s love for us in the Eucharist.
Because we realize that we won’t get into trouble for turning down low-key invitations to be with others, we can easily put these on the back burner. This can even happen in our families. Someday, we resolve, we will spend more time with persons whom we value, but not right now.
There are two things that we can overlook if and when we get into the habit of putting invitations to be there with and for others on the back burner. The first of these is that we tend to lose the motivation to do that which we continue to put off. In our determination to excel, whether at school or at work, we can lose the desire to spend time even with the members of our family. We can also overlook the reality that if we continue to put off spending time with others, they will turn elsewhere to satisfy their needs and wants. It’s painful to realize that our family and our parish can and will get along without us if we keep deserting them.
The Lord gives us the Third Commandment, to keep holy His day, in order to direct us to be there for Him and for one another as He has designed us for this. One way of paraphrasing the Third Commandment is as follows: “Thou shalt celebrate. Thou shalt celebrate my love for you and the love that I am counting on you to extend with one another.” We do this as we gather weekly for Mass, pray daily and as extensions of these basic activities make proactive efforts to be there for others, beginning with the members of our families and those of the parish to which we belong, as the Lord wants us to be present for them.
In our on-going determination, with the Lord’s help, to live in this way, we will not miss the boat in regard to the Lord’s plan for our lives in this world. Stated differently, we will enable ourselves to experience with one another the truth that we are each made for the time and settings in which we find ourselves. We will come to appreciate the proper place and role of all that we perceive we need to do. We will be able to relate both to work and to play in an upbeat manner that is contagious.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Fr. Nelson Beaver – Pastor