Our Lady said to Saint Bernadette: “I do not promise you the happiness of this world, but of the other world.” The “other world”, the “lasting world”. Through the pure trust and faith of young and sickly Bernadette, Our Lady opened a miraculous healing spring in Lourdes where thousands of people have been cured, yet Bernadette remained sickly until her death at only 35 years old.
Not far from here, there is a cemetery with a gentle slope ascending to a prominent hill. From the crest of the hill, a beautiful vista opens across the horizon from the northwest to the northeast. There are ponds, a distant church spire, and forests as far as one can see. It is a glorious view, and one can’t help but feel called to pray.
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Sitting on the porch recently, resting in the feeling of early fall, I marveled at the colors of the leaves. I noticed the faint chimes of a distant church playing the melody to Amazing Grace. The color of fall accompanied by a song of grace brought to mind the blessing and goodness of creation.
It is the season of Autumn for us here. Soon the surrounding oak trees will drop their abundant foliage providing the annual challenge of gathering leaves for compost.
I recall when I was twelve or thirteen, my parents gave me a marvelous gift, a radio that received short wave broadcasts in addition to local stations. I was able to listen to programming originating at great distances from our part of the world. I was delighted.
I believe we are inclined to help one another. I think it is built into our nature as social beings. It is how we are created, God’s design for a communal way of life of mutual care and interconnected support. It is key to our survival. We do not thrive in isolation. Our capacity to love calls us to a gracious attitude toward all whom we meet.