Thanks to Hollywood, most of us has became suckers for over dramatic scenes. We doubt the 10 commandments unless we witness first hand God throwing the tablets down from Heaven or shooting lazer beam like lighting to etch the commandments on boulders.
We so often overlook and take for granted the simplest of miracles that remind us of God’s existence. If you have lost someone to heart failure, you would understand how even a heart beat in itself is a miracle.
I stay awake sometimes fearing not waking up the next day and scenes of how my family would be after my premature departure play over and over like an never ending roll of film thus acknowledging how being alive is indeed a miracle and a gift from God.
And then there are the struggles within ourselves with regards to the realities of life. Where all these spiritualities fit in our daily lives?
Where are the miracles when we are running late on datelines and the times we were unable to find solutions to our tasks at work?
Where is God in all of these?
The conversation I had with my wife this morning was around mental health. Not that either one of us is going psycho but more towards the community at large because of the many advertisement billboards we noticed the past few days indicating the current need for mental therapy. Depression is indeed on the rise.
A priest had recently shared his reflection regarding faith and in the article he mentioned about how the church is currently struggling with attendance and etc. I concur with his thoughts and wanted to read more of his sharings so I pulled up his social media feed. One particular post caught my attention and it was along the lines of him accusing those who are unrepentent being liken to pagans. Ironically, I did not appreciate and disagree with the judgmental tone on that post.
The problem with the earth being round is that, we move in circles and there are many vicious cycles we get caught up in. I am sure if you ask those who have quit going to church for their reason of absence, they will tell you that being judge is one of the reasons. Even taking offense of one’s absence is being judgmental as well.
This year, the church declared and celebrates “The Year of Mercy”. Such a tough year to live by the faith if being merciful means being less judgmental and to love a little more.
Even the bishop has called for the return of those who have left the church. What have we done to bring them “home”?
Or have we pushed them further away?
To break the cycle, we need to do things differently. And yes, we are called to take action because talk is cheap.
Priests have been the support and “mental” pillars for many in the past. We had more priests back then compared to now. They offered compassion, consolation, and counsel for the poor, destitute, depressed, and downtrodden. I believe to a certain extend, they have kept the spiritual and mental health of the community in balance. Today, there is a huge disparity between the ratio of priests to the faithfuls. In other words, it is tough for priests to reach out to everyone.
It is a catch 22 situation because if the church do not make people feel welcome for whatever reason, the less chances we have in nurturing people who are called to serve as priests. Like it or not, it is a numbers game of probability. And not to mention the financial impact suffered by the church because it does not impose the 10% mandatory tithe on its members unlike some denominations.
Again, where is God in all of these?
Is it a case of not unless I see a host of angels coming down from Heaven that I will be merciful and less judgmental?
Or, is it as simple as a heartbeat?
A heartbeat that tells us we are all unique individuals deserving of dignity, respect, and love.
One of my life’s greatest mentors recently shared this quote with me:
We should not mistaken “faith” as an excuse not to take responsibility for our own lives because it is just that easy and convenient to “blame” God for all that may go wrong. Instead, just do it and pray that all we do will be blessed and materialize.
In this context, the late Rev. Fr. Phillips have lived by example through his actions. He loved and spent every day reaching out to people around him. He found time for everyone. And he made everyone feel welcome.
It need not be dramatic or over exaggerated…
Love, the greatest gift of all…
On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” ~ Mark 2:17