2018 Reflections



Charity: Respect for Each Other


I totally blew it the other day. Here I was at the cash register of a supermarket, ready to insert my debit card into the machine and I couldn’t figure out why it would not give me the opportunity to receive cash-back. I hemmed and hawed. I was Mr. Grouch personified. I didn’t yell at the person behind the counter, but I yelled at the machine. She apologized for my discomfort. She had charity. I did not. Later, I discovered that I put in a credit card. Chalk it up to frailty.


Charity is always easy when addressing someone else. My computer family, so to speak. It used to be that dozens of people read my stuff, but I never had grandiose thoughts that there might be hundreds. If there were, I’d feel at least vindicated for getting up so early. Today there might be a handful.

I hope that somehow, I can influence others to do some wonderful thing. Do an important thing for Jesus who is so present in our lives all the time, but especially around Christmas. It’s December 23rd, at the very least allow me to wish all of you a Blessed and Joyful Christmas.


Many go to the Mall to do last minute Christmas shopping for family and friends. Stores are crowded. We don’t elbow people on purpose, but it happens. Do we bid our excuses or turn the other cheek and march on? A charitable person would not.


Living alone comes into play. I have no complaints about living alone but it influences how we think about other people. You see, when one lives alone, one is always right. There is no one around to tell us we are in error. God created us to seek out partners for life and most, I would say, get married or live in a community with other people. Not necessarily a religious community. Our neighborhood is sort of a community. Family is a definite community, but you’d think different given the fighting that often goes on in too many families. Fighting in families means people have no respect for other members of that family, that community. A memory surfaces as I write this. A buddy once told me it is not necessary to like brother and sister, we just must love them. It makes me wonder what went on in his family. All people, however, are an extension of Jesus’ Family, where love abounded. Can you imagine Jesus, Mary and Joseph when they were together in Nazareth? Jesus and Joseph in the carpenter workshop, what a blissful scene that would have been. I wonder what would have happened if one of them hit his thumb with a hammer? There are some jokes around on that very question, but I won’t go there. Suffice it to say that Jesus is like us in every way (except sin): he shared our humanity. He has Mercy and Compassion because He understands our frustrations and foibles. He is the ultimate example of love and respect for others.


Jesus is with us all the time. Are we with Him? It is easy to think of Him, and imagine Him in human and divine settings this time of year. Thought and motivation are important, but we also must act. It is important to put good thoughts into good actions. In 1 Jn. 4:7-10 (RSVCE), “Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God; for God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins.”


Fred Schaeffer, OFS
December 23, 2017

File: D18-001

A Gift of a New Life
A Biography
by Fred Schaeffer, OFS 2019

Secular Franciscan Order
Ordo Franciscanus Sæcularis

Divine Mercy Fraternity

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