That lonely stretch


Someone told me to try this: While seated, lift your right foot off the floor and make clockwise circles; at the same time, draw the number “6” in the air with your right hand. Try it. I did—and my right foot really changed direction!

* * *

In today’s Gospel (Lk. 12, 49-53), Jesus teaches us to make a radical decision and change our life direction toward His kingdom. He urges us to go beyond mediocrity and self-preservation, and take the path of solid commitment even if it will lead to dissent and division. He wants us to be disciples who are neither cold nor lukewarm, but disciples who are on fire!

* * *

Complacency and mediocrity are the games many of us play, and many of us are good fence-sitters who belong neither here nor there, or become self-appointed commentators who have something to say about everything and everyone but end up having nothing to do with everything and everyone. Let us all ask ourselves today: How real is my faith, and how deep is my commitment to my God?

* * *

Pope Francis urged the young people at the recent World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to go out and “make a mess” in their dioceses. Here is a Pope who urges us all to be real, to be passionate and zealous with our faith, and to bring the love of God to the poorest of the poor. As St. Francis of Assisi shook the lofty Church of his time, so is Pope Francis leading the present-day Church toward the path of humility, dialogue, and simplicity.

* * *

There is a “baptism” we all have to go through in our faith journey. This “baptism” happens when in honesty and humility, we accept our limitations, failures, weaknesses, and sinfulness. It involves the painful process of finally realizing that in truth, there is nothing in us that we can really boast of. It is accepting the cross in our lives as we go through humiliation, loneliness, deprivation, sickness and even persecution. Once we embrace the cross, and put our trust more in the Lord and less in ourselves, we are purified, we receive strength, and we are able to go on, and participate more deeply and more truly in God’s mission.

* * *

There is that “lonely stretch” we all have to go through in our journey. It is a stretch when we go it with God, alone. People around us can help, pray, cheer, but they can only do so much. At times, it can be such a lowly and lonely journey, bereft of human consolation, and even of the divine. It is a journey to God’s heart, and, in this stretch, especially in the lonely stretch, we are never really alone. He may at times be hidden, but He has assured us that He will always be with us.

* * *

Are you a traveller or a pilgrim in this world? A traveller is off for good fun, expecting comfort and maximum success, and enjoyment. A traveller relies on his/her own resources and strength, and does not care much about other travellers as long as he/she is not involved or affected. A pilgrim, on the other hand, sets out for a journey that is mapped out by someone or something greater than him/her. A pilgrim is patient and trusting, and is in tune with his fellow pilgrims. For a traveller, the journey is all about going far and fast. For a pilgrim, the journey is all about going to God’s heart, to other people’s hearts, and to his/her own very heart.

* * *

Sooner or later, we all must make the decision whether we want to journey as a traveller or as a pilgrim. Life’s tragedies and failures can lead us to that decision.  Life’s trials can lead us to true blessings.  The sooner we make that decision, the better. May we all be given the grace to accept our sins, to do penance, and to amend our lives. Let us not go away from the Lord too far or too long. All roads lead to Him in the end.

* * *

Thought for the journey: “God will sometimes break the strongest bone in your life when you think you are very strong, so that from then on, you will say that the strongest part of you is God… not your career, not your family, not your friends, not your special someone, not who you are, but God.”

* * *

Another thought for the journey: “Many people pray to be kept from unexpected problems. Some people pray to be able to confront or overcome them. The wise man in the storm prays to God not just for safety from danger but also for deliverance from fear.”

* * *

Sometime, somewhere, all of us will meet our God, in His own terms, in His own time. The best way to prepare for that final meeting is meeting Him now, in our day-to-day lives. “If today you hear His voice, harden not your heart.” May we, in our last and final moments, not be filled with regrets that we avoided His way, and disregarded His call.

* * *

Those preparing for marriage or having marital problems are invited to register and join the Psychogenetics Gestalt Retreat weekend on Aug. 24-25 at FMM Retreat House, Tagaytay City. Please contact Angie or Harry at (02) 7883450/ 09178410398/ 09228485515.

* * *

A moment with the Lord:

Lord, stay with me in my journey especially in that lonely stretch along the way. Amen.

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Tags: Catholic Church , Fr. Jerry M. Orbos , Gospel , Moments , opinion , Pope Francis , Religion , SVD

  • virgoyap

    Once we ourselves will try to solve and control our situation without the help of Jesus, people around us will be affected in a disharmonious way.

  • lebabski

    my foot didn’t change directions

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