|Mother M. Angelica
|In His Service
There is in the heart of every Christian the need to be of service to God and His Kingdom. We see a multitude of needs in the Church, in our Community, in our Parish and in the world. The magnitude of these needs however, often produces a paralyzing effect in us. As a result, we stand by and do nothing. The sick feel left out, the poor feel inadequate, the young inexperienced, the old incapacitated and those in between, too busy. These attitudes encourage spiritual inertia and lethargy. Perhaps it is because we do not understand that we are not all expected to serve Him in the same manner.
There are many ways of serving God in our particular state of life. We mention some that are more general and apply to all walks of life. Among these services we can render are: time, talent, suffering, prayer, and material means. One of the most precious gifts God has given us is time. It is a gift that must be traded well. Our eternity may depend on how well it is used. It is a tool in our hands with which we carve the edifice in which we will live for all eternity.
Much of time is wasted. We sometimes speak of "killing time" and a conscious concentration on its existence creates monotony and boredom. When we are in pain it drags and when joy is our portion it flies. It seems endless when we're waiting for something important to happen and very short when the sudden joy of a rising sun begins our day.
Some of us dread the thought of its termination and although we do not always know what to do with it, we wish it would never end. We prefer to use it, in its entirety for our own interests. We do not like to think it is an invisible reality in the Hands of Another. It is a gift and we must share it with our brother through the performance of good works. It is also necessary to give some of that time to God in prayer and in evangelization. As we feed the poor and clothe the naked we must not forget that these exterior works of mercy must stem from a compassionate heart and a Christ-like spirit within us. If our good works are not the fruit of a deep union with God then it is merely a contest between the "have's" and "have-not's."
Using some of our time, be it ever so little, in "prayerful evangelization" is necessary to preserve our zeal and enthusiasm. It is also within the scope of everyone. One of the petitions of the Lord's prayer is that the Father's kingdom will come. This particular plea takes on a special significance in today's world. The Kingdom of God on earth is a holy people living the Gospel, sharing each other's goods, problems, joys and sorrows. It is a manifestation of the Presence of God in our midst. Unfortunately, the spirit of this world places many smoke screens before this ideal and we find it almost impossible to retain the Father's plan as a goal in life. The counsels and precepts of the Gospel become mere philosophical ideologies and not possible, realistic ways of living. To sustain our enthusiasm and perseverance in our striving, we need the Church, the Sacraments and an habitual prayer life. We cannot give what we do not possess. We cannot teach what we do not understand. We cannot give witness to the power of prayer if we never pray. We cannot sanctify our day if the thought of His Presence does not begin it.
Yes, it is necessary for each of us to care enough about the world we live in to spend some time everyday in prayer for its salvation. The fruit of this prayer is action. Be holy and those around you will become holy, give them His Word and their knowledge will increase, give them His love and their grace will abound.
Prayer and action enable us to utilize our talents in His service. Just as we give of our gift of time, so should we give of our special talents. We do not speak of great talents or extraordinary talents, but of common, everyday and many times unnoticed talents. It is a talent to be able to comfort a sick friend; a talent to explain a truth; a talent to care for the aged; a talent to bake a cake and give it to a bereaved friend; a talent to lift a heavy burden by a smile or a pat on the shoulder; a talent to laugh and make others laugh; a talent to bring peace and hope to the despairing and desperate.
These talents, put into God's service, make Christianity believable to the unbeliever. Talents that are exercised in imitation of Jesus, to promote the Father's glory, go a long way to spread the Good News.
The ability to suffer patiently, in union with the sufferings of Jesus, is also a talent, a special gift that can give courage, strength and faith to others.
The endurance of loneliness in union with the loneliness of Jesus during His earthly exile can obtain the grace of repentance for many souls who have strayed from their Father's house. There is hardly a person in the whole world who does not have something to give to God in some way. We are very consistent in our requests for favors from God, but we seldom seek ways and means of serving and giving to Him—giving of ourselves, our time, our talents, our suffering and last of all a share in the material benefits He has bestowed on us.
Of all the gifts we can give to God perhaps the one most misused is the monetary gift. We give money many times because it is the easiest thing to give and our obligations are over. To some it is a tax deductible item or a balm for a guilty conscience. We are confused as to how much to give, when to give, who to give to and why we should give at all. We find money hard to make and difficult to part with. As a result we grumble when we give and wonder if the one we gave to doesn't end up better off than we are. We think tithing is outdated and Scripture quotations about giving cheerfully part of a plot to place guilt on our shoulders. Some make us feel we should give until it hurts and others encourage us to plant a seed that will be doubled.
We have lost sight of the only reason for giving anything at all—love. If love and gratitude and a sincere desire to share is not at the root of our giving, we can be assured it is of no value." If I give away all that I possess, piece by piece,...but am without love it will do me no good at all." (1 Cor. 13:3) "This does not mean that to give relief to others you ought to make things difficult for yourselves; it is a question of balancing what happens to be your surplus now, against their present need, and one day they may have something to spare that will supply your own need." (2 Cor. 8:13-15)
A monetary gift is a service of love, not a contribution. Love should be our motive and a dependence on Divine Providence part of our gift. This dispels any arrogance on the part of those who can give or resentment on the part of those who must receive. Both are where they are to glorify God—one by giving, another by receiving.
Paul assures us that "doing this holy service is not only supplying all the needs of the saints, but it is also increasing the amount of thanksgiving that God receives." (2 Cor. 9:12,13) To give is to do and to serve. It is to manifest our sincerity and make others give glory to God for His providential care. It is to listen to His inspirations and respond with love. It is to trust in Him as His Wisdom guides our lives so we sometimes give and sometimes receive.
Generalities may impress us and even inspire us, but until we act upon them it is useless knowledge. The following aids are given as helps in encouraging you to give your neighbor many opportunities to thank God as He uses you to make His Divine Providence a visible reality.
Suggestions For Service Of Time
1. Listen to your neighbor who tells you of his problems.
2. Listen to a sick friend explain his illness.
3. Wait patiently for doctors, dentists, red lights, etc.
4. Give some time to the building of your parish morale and your pastor's hope.
5. Take time to compliment your pastor on a good sermon or a job well done.
6. Take time to praise the members of your family or fellow workers.
7. Visit or send a card to a prisoner or someone in a nursing home.
8. Spend a few minutes telling God how great He is—how beautiful is the world He made.
9. Be thoughtful by anticipating the needs of others.
10. Take time to listen patiently; speak gently and act prudently.
11. Take time to think before you say or do anything that may offend others.
12. Distribute leaflets and pamphlets to friends. Place them in Churches, beauty parlors, doctors' offices etc.
13. Take time to explain the beautiful truths of your religion to others.
14. Read to the blind, run errands for the sick and elderly.
15. Shop for the crippled.
16. Visit nursing and rehabilitation centers.
17. Volunteer to work in your local hospital.
18. Ask your pastor where he needs help the most.
19. Read the Bible on a scheduled basis, daily or weekly.
Suggestions For Service Of Talent
1. Use the good qualities God has given you, such as love, patience, generosity, etc. to benefit your neighbor. Giving them will increase them.
2. Home talents such as cooking, baking, cleaning can be used to help the infirm, sick and elderly.
3. Offer your business ability to your pastor or friend to help those who may make wrong business decisions.
4. Extend His Kingdom by offering whatever talent you possess to be used by your parish, missionary endeavors, etc.
5. Music and art talents can cheer the lonely and elderly.
6. Sewing talents can be used for the poor or friends and relatives.
7. Teaching talents spread the Good News.
8. A joyful spirit encourages others.
9. A gentle spirit acquiesces to the desires of others.
10. Organizational talent can be offered for parish and civic committees.
11. Speaking talent can spread high ideals.
12. Drive a shut-in to Sunday Mass or other parish activities.
Suggestions For Service Of Prayer And Suffering
1. Praise and thank God for His goodness to you.
2. Speak to Him often during the day by sharing your joys and sorrows with Him.
3. Pray for the salvation of souls and the extension of His Kingdom and the good of Holy Mother Church.
4. Pray for the People of God and the souls of the departed.
5. Offer your sorrows, pain and frustrations to God as an offering of sacrifice for the salvation of souls.
6. Spend some time every day in the Silent Presence of God as you ask Him to fill you with His Goodness.
7. Strive to be holy—to be like Jesus in your particular state in life.
8. Pray for more people to work in the harvest.
9. Pray that the Lord deliver all Christians from evil.
10. Pray for the leaders of the country and Church.
11. Pray for confirming signs for all who preach the Gospel.
12. Pray for friends, relations and enemies.
13. Pray for the Gifts and Fruits of the Spirit for all Christians.
14. Pray for orphans, prisoners, lonely and aged.
15. Unite your suffering with the suffering of Jesus for the salvation of souls.
16. Make a sacrifice of service.
17. Pray for those who are in prisons and for their regeneration in Jesus.
18. "Adopt" a priest and pray for him everyday that his ministry will transform the world.
19. Go to Mass and Communion as often as possible. Offer the Mass for the salvation and blessings of your family, friends and neighbors.
Suggestions For Service Of Monetary Gifts
1. Use the material blessings God has given you to support His work.
2. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to inspire you in your monetary gift giving.
3. Have a definite apostolate or purpose for your gift.
4. Obtain Bibles and spiritual literature for free distribution.
5. Choose some missionary to support as he works for the Kingdom.
6. Save small change to be used for items like stamps, envelopes, etc. for missionary endeavors.
7. Give a spiritual book to a friend for an Anniversary or Birthday.
8. Support your parish and diocesan activities.
9. Establish a trust, endowment or give a bequest to support the Lord's work.
10. Help sponsor a Catholic TV Program.
11. Give generously to the annual Catholic Charity drives and other organized appeals.
Our Lady Of The Angels Monastery and the Catholic Family Missionary Alliance invites you to offer a share of your prayers for its Guardians and Missionaries throughout the world.
Your Time by distributing the pamphlets they make available to you free of charge.
Your Talent in whatever capacity you wish to serve.
Your Suffering for the confirming signs of the Spirit in this lay missionary work.
Your Material Support to further its work in TV, Radio and the printed word.
Prayer For The Bearer Of Good News
Father, Lord of all, let me be a bearer of Good News by an example of a holy life and by utilizing some of my talents and time for the extension of Your Kingdom.
Lord Spirit, give me zeal and enthusiasm for spreading the wealth of spirituality in the Church. Let her Sacraments become my source of strength and grace to fill souls with hope. Send me at least one soul today that I may tell him the news of your love. Let the name of Jesus come quickly to my lips as I reach out to touch the hopeless, the poor and the sick. Let mercy spring forth from my heart at any offence so the world will know You are a forgiving God.
I give You my sufferings today so many souls will find the light. I give You my love that others will find the Way. I give You my day that others may see the reflection of Your Face.
Help me, Lord Jesus, to change the world and build Your Church.
Electronic Copyright © 1999 EWTN
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