I asked God to take away my pain. God said, No.
It is not for me to take away, but for you to give it up.
I asked God to make my handicapped child whole. God said, No.
Her spirit was whole, her body was only temporary.
I asked God to grant me patience. God said, No.
Patience is a byproduct of tribulations; it isn’t granted, it is learned.
I asked God to give me happiness.God said, No.
I give you blessings. Happiness is up to you.
I asked God to spare me pain. God said, No.
Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares and brings you closer to me.
I asked God to make my spirit grow. God said, No.
You must grow on your own, but I will prune you to make you fruitful.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life. God said, No.
I will give you life so that you may enjoy all things.
I ask God to help me LOVE others, as much as he loves me.
God said…Ahhhh, finally you have the idea.
THIS DAY IS YOURS DON’T THROW IT AWAY!
May God Bless You,
“To the world you might be one person,
But to one person you just might be the world.”
by Claudia Minden Weisz
We Lebanese people come from an ancient way of life. Many of us find ourselves existing today in this land for varying reasons. The older generations came here as opportunists. Hearing tales of the new world as a place to make money, many Lebanese people made there way across vast oceans to reach this land we call Australia. The Lebanese people have business in their blood, inherited from millennia of trade and commerce. Byblos, which is about 5000 years old, is one living example of how old our ports are and our shrewdness in business is one of our greatest inherited gifts. We prosper all over the world, and as I write this, the richest man in the world is a Lebanese Maronite.
Others, including my own family, came here as refugees driven out by war. Unlike the opportunists, my father was moved here against his will, fleeing a war which was brought upon our beautiful land. This is not to say that he did not have prosperity in his eyes, but he was making his fortune in Lebanon, doing the things he loves. He had to make the move to Australia for survival, and now that I have grown up, I am very thankful it was Australia we made our home. Growing up I could always sense the sadness deep down in my father’s heart over the loss of everything he owned. All our childhood photos were lost in the war, not to mention the new house he had built which had become a command post. Unlike the opportunists, therefore, there are some of us here because war has driven us here.
Today’s world is very fast, always changing and often leaving no time for reflection for what we are becoming. We are global creatures now, and as the world becomes smaller, so does our culture slowly become one. We stand at a watershed moment in history were we are clinging by the last shreds to our traditional believes and way of life. If we do not consciously stop and realise the epoch we are in, we may loose centuries of beliefs in one or two generations. This is also the case for the indigenous people of this land, whose way of life spans more than 30,000 years. All this can be lost in today’s world without any regret or awareness as we are inevitably initiated into this demanding era of history. We all run the risk of simply becoming another component within the capitalistic social framework which defines our modern way of life and culture.
At the moment, there is a war of cultures across all the lands of the earth, and more so in the Western world. Having come from a certain place where my identity was defined by my culture and my place within it, I now find myself uncertain of my identity. I now find myself in a new culture, an ever changing culture which struggles to define itself. I am like an alien in a foreign land, learning a new language and way of life.
In Lebanon, ones identity was bound by ones place. Family homes had been passed on over generations and neighbours had been neighbours for centuries. There was a defined way of life, and honour and shame were as strong, if not stronger, than the law. In Australia, however, I live in a society where the family structure means little and I hear ever growing cases of divorce and separation. I am told that honour and shame mean little in world were one can choose and pick their friends and family. It is true that all generations change some things as a result of time and evolution, but the speed and degree at which this is happening today, is unsurpassed. We live in an era of identity crisis and it will only be by the grace of God that we are able to salvage the worthy parts of our tradition, which should not be discarded because of the vogues of time.
I know it is disheartening and often too powerful to try and hold onto a Church and faith being persecuted by its own sins and the current collective psyche, which sees it as being an outdated and superstitiously ill-founded institutional religion, but who can bear the thought of what we would become without it. If we were to join the current tide of narcissistic humanism, and deny all our traditional beliefs of what it means to be human, what it means to be married, and belong to a family and humanity, what kind of life would we be fighting for? Although it is impossible for us humans to do anything within our power to attain faith, as its initiation is solely the work of God, we do however, have all the power in the world to deny our faith and not cooperate with its work in our life. We too can choose not to go to Church on Sunday or even argue against the belief in God if we feel so inclined.
Although we will loose many of our enculturated traditions and believes which made us Lebanese, we stand a chance against total identity destruction by at least choosing to hold onto our most fundamental defining feature, which is our faith. As the letter to the Hebrews tells us “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever”- because truth is not changed by time or vogue, truth remains the same forever. Although each era may fantasise and define love according to its own interpretation, we are assured that true love, i.e. divine love, remains the same forever and can never be outdated or surpassed. We have a choice to make in our life and in the things we choose to teach our children. We can both become ignorant to what is happening around us and become just another statistic within our modern world, including its views on tradition and belief, or we can choose to stop and take the time to consider our history and the beliefs we inherit from our past. Consider what it means to be a Catholic and make the choice to fight for what remains of it, even if it means that we are the only people left standing at church.
So what are we to become? Are we strong enough to stand the test of time? Do we consider this fight worthy? What does our identity mean to us? Are there things we have inherited that we consider as being worthy for our children to inherit? Or are we simply going to be another avenue for the status quo?
We thank you Lord for the touch of a hand
For the air that fills our lungs
For your presence in our hearts
And for the blessing which is life
We ask you to continue to make things Holy in our life
To awaken more and more your love within our hearts
And our minds
So that our encounter of you may make all things good
We ask you to strengthen us in our moments of weakness and worry
Help us stay standing whilst everything below our feet is evil
Lead our feet into pastures of salvation
And continue to nourish us through the miracle of Eucharist
Help us to treasure our family more and more
As the foundation of all good things
For you too, chose a human family
To be brought into our world
You are the true miracle which makes goodness possible
And without you, we exist only for our own self
You make happiness and peace possible in our family
And for that we are eternally grateful
For all families who have been wed through Jesus Christ
We have been given no greater grace in our marriage
And through it we gain the possibility of having a happy house
Through His name, it becomes possible to truly experience unity and peace
And to cherish our own family as Holy ground
To remove our shoes at the end of each day
And give thanks to the One who makes it possible
We pray O Lord the same prayer of Solomon
A prayer of your approval
We ask only for the wisdom to help rule the ones below us
The ability to lead our children to you
So through us
They may experience your grace
And truly know your presence in their lives.
So that we may all walk us one
United in your Holy name.
We ask St Joseph for his intercession
So that we may be worthy fathers to our children
And good companions to our wives
Pray for us St Joseph
So that we may share in the miracle of the true family made possible through Christ
And be considered worthy, as a family, to enter into His eternal kingdom at the end.
One can argue the agnostic position that they have not formulated an opinion as to whether or not God exists, but I think it is beyond any kind of reason to try and claim to know that God does not exist, since this would be same as saying that one knows exactly what the world is and how it works, which even the greatest scientist does not claim to know.
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