This past week, our church had their Parish Mission. A Franciscan priest, Fr. Johnpaul Cafiero OFM, joined us with a reflection on the Seven Last Words of Christ. (For more information on Fr. Johnpaul, check out his website here: www.friarjp.com) Fr. Johnpaul has a lively, energetic, peaceful, and pastoral presence. His habit and Jesus sandals followed his every step as he roamed around the sanctuary informing us on his history. He's from New York City and started his career as an NYPD officer. He later came to see the courage, strength, service, and love of the Franciscan friars in NYC, and he wanted to be a part of it. He stayed there for a number of years, and now he is here in Chicago to serve. What has led him through all of these transitions and what motivates him every day to go out to serve people is his relationship with God. Fr. Johnpaul compared all of us to a bagel. We are like the grains who become full of life when applied under the heat of the oven. We are in the shape of a circle with a hole in the center; why is that vital to our stories? Why does this hole in the center of our being exist? We are constantly chasing after everything our culture tells that we need to crowd the hole. To entertain ourselves, we watch movies, listen to music, go to sports games, go out to a restaurant, go out for a drink or coffee with a friend. We gain possessions when we go shopping; our culture tells us that no matter the amount or quality of possessions we have, it will never be enough. Pop culture of tv shows, movies, reality tv lifestyles, and music give us agendas that we must follow to be in. We give into addictions of over-eating, having too much sugar, drinking, giving into caffeine, etc. We try to flood our lives with what our world tells us that will fill us, and yet we still feel empty or clogged or like we need more and more. Do you know what fits perfectly in the hole of our inner-most being? The Eucharist. The circular Eucharist permeates all emptiness in our lives and will make a perfect fit in our bagel. The only thing that is meant to fit in the center is our relationship with God. When we put everything aside and pack that hole with silence, prayer, praise and worship, Adoration, Mass, talking to God, and being in a friendship with our Lord, we will feel full and overflowing.
What activities are you participating in that promote and deepen you relationship with God?