by Ken Rolheiser
Flying with love and having time

A man goes to the doctor and says, “Doctor, you’ve got to help me. If I touch my arm, I feel a terrible pain. If I touch my leg, same thing. If I touch my head, fierce pain. What can I do?”
“I think I can help you,” the doctor says. “You have a broken finger.”

Sometimes we are the broken finger as we react to the world around us. Everything we see is a problem. Everything we encounter needs fixing. Everyone else is imperfect.

“Your love has a broken wing if it cannot fly across the sea,” said Maltbie Davenport Babcock, 19th century American poet and clergyman. Consider also this quote: “Time is the longest distance between two points”. These two quotes set me thinking.

Love and time are not separated. Picture Jesus Christ, a naked scapegoat nailed to a man-made wooden cross. Abhorrent with our sins which he took upon himself, it seemed even heaven abandoned him at that hour.

Yet he did this for you and for me. He absorbed our sin, purifying us so we could rise with a resurrection joy. Yet how often can our love not even reach across the table to a family member? To a spouse? Our love should reach across the sea, to the refugee and the persecuted.

A journalist asked Pope Francis, “Who are you?” The Pope’s simple response, “I am a sinner. I am a sinner.” But what the Pope went on to say afterwards was critical: “I am a sinner saved by God's love.”

In a homily entitled “I am a Sinner” Father Brendan McGuire says, “That is our starting place - God's love. When we come to our own personal prayer and can honestly say to God: ‘Lord, I am a sinner. Thank you for your love. Thank you for your grace.’”

Then a grace will come upon us, McGuire says. Then we will be able to serve in kindness. We will be a part of God’s kingdom of love and forgiveness.

Perhaps the two funerals I attended this past weekend are making me think of finalities, but time and love are what age is all about. Sometimes realizations hit those who are old. As you grow older, may you be “God-smacked” – beyond flabbergasted.

Gratitude is the hallmark of age. “Those who are awake live in a constant state of amazement” -Jack Kornfield.

“Whoever does not see God in every place does not see God in any place.” –Rabbi Elimelech.

And while I have the time to share another gem from Ralph Waldo Emerson, “To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

St Theresa of Lisieux said, “With love, not only do I go forward, I fly.”

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