Rockyford – 25.06.2011
Maybe to begin I will shortly present myself …?
I am a member of the Society of the Divine Saviour, briefly Salvatorians.
I am a priest for almost 30 years.
I used to work for 15 years as a Philosophy professor in different seminaries and universities in Africa, means in Congo, Tanzania and Comoros Islands.
As you –certainly- can hear I have this specific John Paul's II polish accent, because I am also originally from Poland.
Since 2006 I am working as a pastor in the diocese of Edmonton precisely in the Rocky Mountain House Parish.
I am seriously and deeply interested in the studies of Cosmology which is the science of the Beginning and the Evolution of the Universe …
You now this Big-Bang theory, galaxies, origin and the end of stars and solar systems, and the stuff like …
However, through these studies in astronomy, cosmology and theoretical physics I was able to discover and to see the wonderful and astonishing unity of God's revelation whereas in the created nature or in the Holy Scripture.
God doesn't contradict Himself, God is truthful and reliable … GOD IS GREAT IN S DEEDS AND WORDS!!!
I can assure you out of my personal experience "GOD NEVER, NEVER, NEVER misleads, cheats or deceives us". If you are honest and searching Him sincerely … even if sometimes you commit a sin, and you feel bad … He will never abandon and never forget you as long as you honestly search Him and as long as you are able to tell Him: "Jesus I trust You, have mercy on me".
Because He created us and He (and only HE!!!) knows us, better than anybody else ... He knows you even better that you know yourself.
I like fishing and especially ice-fishing … but maybe enough about myself …
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First I have a very serious question and a very personal one to ask you:
Do you think that Jesus is hones with us?
Do you think that we can trust Him or rather be very cautious or wary?
Because, if I really trust Jesus in my life I will be following Him fully and without restriction, but if I don’t trust Him … so where are the sense and the meaning of my life?
We all are in the constant quest for love, meaning and sense, for happiness and fulfilment in our lives.
Would you like to be happy?
Would you like to be loved and to have deep and meaningful relationships?
Would you like to see your life to be fortunate and sense full?
Or rather you will tell me I DON'T CARE !?
By the way, do you remember; what were the first words of the Pope John Paul II when he was elected pope 33 years ago?
He said: "Don't be afraid! Open the doors to Christ!"
During the World Youth Days 1984-2008 John Paul II and Benedict XVI were constantly repeating:
"Don't be afraid! Open the doors to Christ!"
"Don't Be Afraid to be Saints"
So why are we afraid? Why we are scared of Jesus?
Is it not because we don't trust Him? We don't believe in Him, we try to live our life according to our caprices, feelings and impulses? And yet we are constantly unhappy, empty, unsatisfied, unfulfilled and disappointed.
Jesus is certainly not an "easy going fellow" who doesn't care what you do and what is your life like.
He will never tell you "DOESN'T MATTER" … or "KEEP SMILING" or "TAKE IT EASY".
He will rather say … "do not be afraid I am the One who can help you and lead you out of the mess you encountered I your life." But be a little bit more careful and cautious because sometimes you are going too far and you follow very dangerous paths. If I am giving you the commandments it is not to make your life miserable, not to make it difficult or to limit your freedom … it's rather a kind of warning. By the commandments I would like to prevent your fall, your disappointment your failure and depression. Trust and believe me … what I am telling you is only for your good and not to cause you misery.
So I have to re-examine perhaps once more the question: "What or Who is the center of my life?"
A story of a drug addict let us call him Peter …
He started at the age of 12 when he was still in the elementary school …
he started out of simple curiosity just to know what it means to feel cool …
he started with very mild drugs an in the very tiny doses…
I meet him when he was already 22, ten years later and close to die … in a hospital for terminally sick patience …
You know father … - he told me- it was like going downhill on the skies or on the snowboard. At the age of 16 –while physically still quite good and healthy – he was a skier or rather he was very good in snowboarding. He won even some international European competitions in snowboarding … he was really good. But –as he said sincerely- he was also sliding down and rapidly into the drugs, more and more, deeper and deeper, stronger and stronger … And nobody was able or RATHER NOBODY WOULD LIKE TO HELP HIM …
"I have had so many friends and colleagues but nobody even dare to say me … "Peter you are sliding quickly into hell". And actually I was sliding into hell – he said. And now I know – I am in hell because I see that I am dying and I cannot live more than two – three hours without a dose …"
At the beginning I was able to live without "shot" even for months … but after few years it was impossible for me to stay "dry" even for two or three days."
I needed more and more often. And there was no force, no power which can stop me or end this nightmare.
T was cool but only at the beginning, later on it became a kind of necessity and obligation. I cannot stop it I can do nothing, I was like forced and spell bounded by a mysterious force …
It became a real nightmare … terrifying and dreadful awful and frightening …
One night when I was sitting at his bad in the palliative care facility he asked me:
"Father, can you please read me the Gospel, this passage when Jesus is talking about the building the house on the sand and on the rock?"
So I read it for him the passage from the Gospel of St. Matthew chapter 7:
Jesus said to His disciples: "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.
He interrupted me here and said:
"This is very truth Father, for last ten years I was going the very broad and wide road of pleasures and self-indulgence … I was listening to nobody, than to my feelings and desires … and now I can say honestly it was the way which leads to destruction."
And he called the nurse, who came to administer him once more the dose of painkiller, because he was not able to support the pain and the hunger for narcotics anymore.
After the nurse left I continue with the reading of the Gospel:
"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will know them.
And once more he interrupted me saying:
"How true are these words, how true? I was living in a fancy world of false friends and buddies who were really like the wolves in sheep's skins. Where are they now? Where are now all those friends and palls who were repeating me that it is cool? Why nobody told me that I can't go out of this? Why I was so stupid and so week to continue my way which was leading me to hell? And nobody intervened or had enough courage to save me? I didn't trust Jesus however I believe that He is the Lord, but … I didn't took seriously His teaching"
Father please continue the reading"
So I did continue the parable of Jesus where He says:
Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. So by their fruits you will know them. "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven"
Father – he interrupted again asking – do you think that I am a rotten tree? Do you think that I am dying and I will be condemned?
Do you think that when Jesus says: " Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. " it applies to me, that I will be cut down and thrown into the fire?
I feel so bad, so bad physically but even worse psychologically … I totally destroyed my life. Please read further the Gospel.
And so I did continue:
Jesus said: "Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock."
And he interrupted once more: "I think that I can win my life and now be in a totally different situation, studying and having some wonderful perspectives in my life if only I build my life on the rock …, but …
Please read the last part of this Gospel.
And the last part is:
"And everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. And it collapsed and was completely ruined." (Matthew 7:13-29)
Do you think Father that I am an example of this last part of Jesus' Gospel? I did build up my life on the sand of sentiments and feelings and I am now ruined. Do you think that I cannot be saved?
I don't think – I answered- that you cannot be saved, because finally recognised your error and I pretty sure Jesus Christ will certainly see your honesty and will find for you the way to His Kingdom.
He looked at me with a certain hope and seems to be relaxed.
Thank you Father but can I ask you one think? Please tell others about my life and help them to understand how stupid is to build up their lives on the sand of emotions, feelings and desires. Please tell other young people to trust rather Jesus than their false friends and wrong teachers.
How do I build my house? Do I build it on a rock or on the sand?
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And Jesus is telling us something very different. He is not playing with our emotions. He is rather making an appeal to our reason, to our intellect and our will, our honesty.