Desire to Love God: His Gift to Us
by Fred Schaeffer, OFS
Many people love God. God has given us the capacity and will to do so. Not everyone makes use of this generous gift of God. Some reject Him out of hand, and that is a pity. Sit down, try to clear your thoughts, organize your thoughts, and think only of God. Yes, we can do that. In your thoughts, go over all He has done for you so far in your life, keeping in mind that only good things come from Him. He allowed you to be born to your mother and father, their marriage the nucleus of your young life. As you grew, and mentally matured, His gift continued giving: you found you had an ongoing desire to love Him, and to love your family.
Childhood and teen years are supposed to be wonderful years, rich experiences. Unfortunately, in some families this is simply not the case. So perhaps our thoughts are diverted from realizing God’s goodness and grace. I didn’t have a stellar childhood but that was largely due to World War II. My parents were not to blame; they suffered as much as I did. I was in Europe during the war as a young child, and the years that followed weren’t great either. My life has taken many twists and turns in the many years before arriving at the present. Despite the ups and downs of life, years away from Church and Sacraments, return to the Fold, with His Help, I somehow managed to keep things together. Praise God!
I’ve been with the Secular Franciscans (OFS) almost 25 years, there was a time I hankered for religious life. A short stay with the Capuchins when I was young, then with the OFM Franciscans and afterwards 5 years in an order of monks were overall good years but I returned to the OFS. That’s when I began to realize that OFS is a sort of religious order, for lay people and that works for me too. During those years I began building these “Reflections” – mostly on His Gift to us, His love and Grace.
Do I know God? Maybe no more than anyone else. I am convinced that God watches over us, has unlimited Mercy and Love for us, and that all people should try to accept that gratefully. I don’t know what goes on in the innermost thoughts of other people, how we reason with God, I can only write about how I feel, what I am thinking and how I experience His Love. I know from talking to other people that some folks do not feel God is approachable. In my experience that isn’t so. He cares a great deal what we think and how we conduct our life, but you can’t argue with God (nor would I want to). When we sin, do something that’s against his Will, we don’t argue why we are right, because we are wrong. There is no excuse for sin. People say we all sin. I don’t deny that, but it should not be an excuse. Sin can be overcome. You start with the little stuff and pretty soon, you begin to realize that you love God a whole lot, and He reciprocates by reminding us when we are about to do something bad that there is another way. His Way! Accept His Gift of Grace and be thankful.
As the Season of Lent will begin in a few days, please make some choices in your life. Most people I talk with are burdened by a frenetic life style, life is going too fast and they have or are making poor choices. I’m not in the blame game, I try not to judge people, but if you are confused, misdirected or sad all the time, take the little advice I can give you. Give some time to thinking about your obligation toward your Creator, find out where you’ve gone wrong and try to set things straight. Catholics can and should go to confession. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is rich in grace, make use of it. Don’t rationalize that you’ve done so many dreadful things and that God won’t forgive. You don’t know Him that well, and that is why you go talk with a priest. He has experience. And I find that most of the time the priest gives great advice and makes this Sacrament very easy for the receiver provided your request for forgiveness is genuine. People tell me that the priest yells at people. That hasn’t been the case in, at least, the last 20 years. We live in a different time now, a time when all people are looking for understanding and forgiveness. If your priest yells simply go to another priest. In the old days we were limited in that way, but nowadays you can receive Reconciliation in any Catholic Church. That said, I still recommend you stick to a regular confessor.
Non-Catholic Christians do not have confession, but they can ask our Lord Jesus to forgive them. They operative word is prayer and more of the same. God is good, He forgives. If you are sincere, I have no doubt that He will forgive you too.
Extra fasting and praying in Lent. Those are wonderful practices but if we try to counteract sin in our lives, God will be pleased, and you will find everlasting happiness. If you need help, particularly in the form of prayer, please contact me.
Peace and all Good!
Fred Schaeffer, OFS
February 12, 2018
Secular Franciscan Order
Ordo Franciscanus Sæcularis
Divine Mercy Fraternity
Vero Beach, FL
Term expires: 2/10/2022
Fred Schaeffer, OFS
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Fred Schaeffer, OFS