Holy Family

Holy Family

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Feast of Saint Peter Damian

Good morning. Wow! Have you ever reread something and it was if you had read it for the very first time. I had that experience this morning. I read through the readings for today’s Mass and reading the scripture passage from the Book of James it really struck me; it was if I had awakened for the very first time. It struck me in reading this brief passage from James that each one of us, in any given moment make choices, and these choices lead to other choices, and if we allow it we become our choices. If we look to do good then good will follow; this sage advice is found throughout scripture and throughout various literary works, yet despite this, it seems to elude us. Our actions are guided by our thoughts. Our lives are products of what lies in our minds and in our hearts. “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” This seems such a simple uncomplicated way to be, and yet it seems to repeatedly escape us. This same idea, when expanded to include our married life seems so simple and uncomplicated that if followed would seem to be the solution to all marital strife and would certainly have a great many divorce lawyers scrambling for some other way to hustle a buck. If we looked to God for direction in all that we do, if we looked to our spouse, our marriage for all that we do surely only good would follow. And yet, we don’t always look to these things for how we make choices with our life. Yet, one has to wonder how different things would be if we would.

Although this concept of looking to do good seems like an easy concept to grasp, its implementation certainly isn’t. In order to do this we must be willing to give up several key notions that drive most every one of our lives, first, that it is all about me, and secondly, that life is all about being happy, all of which is driven by the idea of materialism. It is most unfortunate that we live in a world where we are bombarded with the commercial mantra that life is ‘all about me.’ This message is one that we are constantly surrounded by; it is what fuels things like Facebook, the cosmetic industry, I-Phones, and you name-it-anything-retail. It is what makes credit cards so attractive—“What’s in Your Wallet?” And yes, the divorce industry. As for being happy, our late pontiff, Blessed Pope John Paul II said it well: “Life is not just a succession of events or experiences: it is a search for the true, the good and the beautiful. It is to this end that we make our choices; it is for this that we exercise our freedom; it is in this - in truth, in goodness, and in beauty - that we find happiness and joy.” Life is not always a trip to Disney World. In every life some rain will fall. It is as simple as that. The problem is we live in a world where it is thought we should avoid suffering at all costs. That is why the pharmaceutical industry is so lucrative.

The solution is simple, but putting it into action is an entirely different matter all together; Jesus in today’s Gospel spells it out quite clearly, the answer is in Him. If we are looking for the good that is certainly what we will find; if God is what directs our life then everything else will simply fall into place. Sometimes we are too busy looking or listening to other things that we miss the guidance God offers us. If our life choices are directed by what is good, by what is good for my marriage, then only goodness can follow. So, who’s in your marriage? As we begin the season of Lent tomorrow perhaps we could make a special effort to listen and look for the direction God is calling us to and rise every morning and look to God and our marriage for direction to our choices. Make a great day!

Today we recall the good life, gifts, and work of Saint Peter Damian--Bishop and Doctor of the Church. Saint Peter Damian wrote of the need to listen and look for God in the ordinary events of our daily lives, which you can read about further in The Eremitic Life: Encountering God in Silence and Solitude .
Pope Benedict XVI suggests that Saint Peter Damian had much to tell us regarding the need to look and listen for direction in our lives. In his general audience of September 9, 2009, in reference to the life and teachings of Saint Peter Damian, he said: “This is important for us today too, even though we are not monks: to know how to make silence within us to listen to God's voice, to seek, as it were, a "parlour" in which God speaks with us: learning the word of God in prayer and in meditation is the path to life.”

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