People Involved in our Lives
by Fred Schaeffer, OFS
There are hundreds of people who are involved in the human family who unwittingly touch us in some way. Take the food chain, for example. There are people who farm the foods we consume, the farmers, those who milk the cows, butchers who prepare meat, transporters who get the food from the field or barn to the market, packers who prepare it for the stores, storekeepers who make it ready for sale, stackers who place it on the shelves, cashiers who ring it up as we purchase it in the Supermarket, and so on. If you think about the hundreds or perhaps thousands involved with each one of us, that becomes a sizeable sum of people whom we do not know personally, but who have something to do with us.
We ought to ask God's blessings on these good people, to keep them healthy, employed, willing to serve, so that we will continue to have something to eat. Actually, we should pray for all people we share this planet with, for their well-being, their peace of mind, because when all people pray for one another, there is less likely to be war.
Generally, we pay attention to people much closer to us. The family circle, and widening out a little, the work circle, people in our church. Perhaps people in our community, or even the town where we live. But that is generally too big a group. We have this idea that when we pray for people, we have to worry about them. No, not really, do not worry, do not be afraid. It is alright to take a chance on other people. It isn't going to hurt. It may even benefit ourselves.
Community leads to a special relationship - "the Body of Christ." We are the "Body of Christ." The Faithful, the Believers! Okay, if you will, the Righteous! The trouble with that word, I feel, is to use it in such a way that there are people who are not righteous, thus excluded from our group. There is no reason to exclude anyone. Judgement is up to God, not us.
So take the people around us. Old-time Catholics have a term for those—"our extended family" - is how we group these folks. How we justify our prayer for them as if this were necessary. I personally dislike "pigeon-holing" people as this leads to a form of profiling.
During the Second World War, the Nazi's profiled all over the place, with impunity. That is why so many people, particularly the Jewish people, perished. There was probably a good man who lifted me up into an army truck (when I was just 4 years old), that took me away from danger to go back home. We do not remember such incidents for such helpful people are nameless. They are like Simon of Cyrene who was asked to help Jesus carry the Cross. Let us be grateful for them, helping us, even though they did not know us, or we them, and pray for them with gratitude.
There are doctors and nurses on staffs we have never been introduced to, people who work "in the background" and have a hand in our healing. Let us be grateful to them too. But most of all, let us remember all that our Lord does for us, in his infinite love that never ends. We know He is there but we really do not know Him. We know of Him, we know of His Love, and we do know, we want to get to know Him much better. Then why is it, I must ask myself, that sometimes the entire day passes by, and I have not even thought about Him once? I try to remember Him. I know He remembers me. Because the minute I thank Him, or think about Him, I know He is listening.
That He is listening is not just an abstract concept. It is not just a fact established in our brain, but we believe this with our whole heart! When I tell someone, very seriously, that Our Lord tells me what to do, they wonder if I have "lost it." No, I have not. He DOES communicate with me, just as He communicates with all of us, but if we are too wrapped up in our own affairs, our brains will be too busy to even recognize His voice. Always make time for Him. After you've said some prayers, perhaps Morning or Evening Prayer, just sit quietly. Be sure nothing is distracting you, and tell Him: "Lord, your servant is listening." Then do nothing else for a period of time, do not pray, speak, just be still and you know He will be there. Even if you physically hear nothing, don't let that worry you. The closer you get to Him, the easier hearing His voice will become.
Give Him time. Make Time for God! He heads our extended family! The Father, Son (Jesus) and the Holy Spirit, three persons ONE GOD - and the Virgin Mary, the earthly mother of Jesus - don't forget her; she is a strong ally or intercessor for us, to bring us closer to her Son. And for us, Franciscans, how could we forget St. Francis, St. Anthony, St. Bonaventure and perhaps other particular Franciscan holy people we have been remembering for years.
There are also still other people, your pastor, his vicars, the deacons in your parish, spiritual advisors, people involved in administration, liturgical committees, religious education in our parishes, who all have our best interest in mind. Please continue to pray for them. And if you haven't begun, now's the time to do so. A former pastor, used to refer to a "cast of thousands" and they are. Who knows, you may just be one of those, and then someone will pray for you, too.
Closer to home, as I am nearing my 78th birthday, I have friends who help me cope. People who help clean my place and who take care of me. I am grateful for such friends as they are a gift from God. Let us pray for them, too.
God bless you!
Fred Schaeffer, OFS
July 24, 2018
Secular Franciscan Order
Ordo Franciscanus Sæcularis
Divine Mercy Fraternity
Vero Beach, FL
Term expires: 2/10/2022
Fred Schaeffer, OFS
Helen Caldarone, OFS
Mary "Jean" McGovern, OFS
Jack Reddy, OFS
Donna Haro, OFS
Joanne Giordano, OFS
Fred Schaeffer, OFS