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Dreaming, loving, family and God

Column by Ken Rolheiser

The teacher asked her class, "Which is more important to us – the sun or the moon?"

            One of the students answered, "The moon."

            The teacher asked why the moon was more important, and the student gave this explanation: "The moon gives us light at night when we need it most.... The sun just gives us light in the daytime when we don’t really need it!"

            Perhaps we have been living in the light of God’s love so long that we too take it for granted. The power of God’s love gives joy to our days, and we only feel its loss when love is absent.

            “Singing is a sign of joy and, if we look more closely, it is a sign of love” – Saint Augustine.

            During his life as a priest Pope Francis was once asked a difficult question by a young person: “Father, what did God do before He created the world?” 

            His answer: “Before He created the world, God was in love, because God is love. The love He had within Himself, the love between the Father and the Son, in the Holy Spirit, was so great, so overflowing… that God could not be selfish. He had to go out from Himself, in order to have someone to love outside of Himself. So God created the world.”

            “But the most beautiful thing God made was the family,” the Pope continued. The family is a “workshop of hope, of the hope of life and resurrection, since God was the one who opened this path.”

            “Stake everything on love,” Pope Francis says. Help each other in times of difficulty and lighten each other’s burdens, he said, as he addressed the Festival of Families in Philadelphia on September 26, 2015.

            About dreaming, the Pope addressed children and immigrant families in East Harlem on September 25: “Keep smiling and help bring joy to everyone you meet. It isn’t always easy. Every home has its problems, difficult situations, sickness, but never stop dreaming so you can be happy.

            “All of you here, children and adults, have a right to dream… Wherever there are dreams, wherever there is joy, Jesus is present. Always.” Joy seems to be the segue that joins all our Christian actions and motivations.

            “Rejoice in the Lord always. I say it again, rejoice,” (Philippians 4:4) Pope Francis echoed these words in a homily on the occasion of the canonization of Junipero Serra. He added, “Go forth! Proclaim! The joy of the Gospel is something to be experienced, something to be known and lived only through giving it away, through giving ourselves away.”

            Saint Junipero’s motto was “Keep moving forward.” Leaving his native land of Spain, Junipero Serra was known as the Apostle of California. His canonization mass on September 23, 2015, was the first such mass to be celebrated in the United States.

            As a challenge to the American Congress on September 24, 2015, Pope Francis invoked the Golden Rule as the yardstick that time will use as a measurement for us: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you (Matthew 7:12).”

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