Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Gospel Thoughts Today: God's Presence

Years ago I met a young man (he had attended Catholic school with one of my daughters) who lit up a room with his smile and personality. He was kind, funny and just plain fun to be around. I was helping this amazingly talented person with a project and we were going to be spending some time together editing his book. A few days into the project, we began talking about faith when he declared he was an atheist. Immediately, I informed him he wasn't an atheist, just taking a little detour. He is from a family with strong Christian values, so the building blocks are pretty solid. He just needed a little push in the right direction. On our last day working together, I asked him if he would do me a favor . . . read three of the Heaven Speaks booklets (Addiction, Those Away From the Church, and Those Who Don't Know Jesus). Smiling, he agreed. I also warned I would be ramping up the prayers for his conversion. I don't know if he ever read the booklets as we have lost touch. All I can do is plant the seed.

There may be times we doubt God's presence. I'm not referring to His existence as our Creator. I'm referring to His Presence by our side, 24/7. No matter how dire our lives may seem, He is always there ready to comfort us . . . His Love never failing. And, He knows we are only human. It takes practice, patience, spiritual reading and prayer when developing a close relationship with Christ. In knowing Him intimately, issues you once thought draining or atrocious become small bumps in the road where you only stumble, not crash into the ground.

Today's Gospel (John 20:24-29) reminds me of that young man I spoke of above. Our last day working together, I remember him saying (jokingly, I'm sure!) it would take the stigmata for him to believe. Kind of like our Doubting Thomas:

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, "We have seen the Lord." But Thomas said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe." Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, "Peace be with you." Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe." Thomas answered and said to him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed."

In Heaven Speaks to Those Away from the Church, Jesus consoles:

"My friend, listen to Me. Hear My words because My words are truth. Reject the rebelliousness of My enemy. Accept that you are called to follow Me and raise your behavior to My standards. I will help you. You will be welcome in heaven if you accept that I am God. You will have to accept that I am God in order to gain heaven, of course. Will you not accept this fact now, before your time on earth is finished? Will you return to Me now given that ultimately you hope to do so? My heart longs for your peace. I see everything. If you have been hurt by those who claimed to represent My Church but who failed, I will heal you. Do not use this hurt as a reason why you step away from all that I offer for you through My Church. This has taken you in the wrong direction and others walk behind you. Please, come into My Church. It belongs to Me, after all. You are welcome, regardless of your sins."

Thank you, Lord, for opportunities to teach younger generations of Your Love and Graces. Keep sending them, Lord. I know I may never see the outcome of my efforts, but I know You will take over where I leave off!

God bless,

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