The word “everyone” caught my attention immediately when I read the first line of the gospel today. Then I thought of people I would be meeting today. Some of those encounters will be enjoyable, and some will be challenging in one way or another. I wasn’t done bringing to mind people I would meet. There will be those who are, for a better word, surprises, again, some enjoyable and some challenging.
Jesus said, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that everyone who believes might not perish but might have eternal life.” That is His intention for everyone I meet, and you meet today. I can’t deal with many people, like everyone in the world. But I can ask Jesus to give me His intention to love each individual I meet today, no matter how brief that may be.
It’s like examining my conscience upside down; instead of looking back at my blessings and sins of the day, I look forward with a purity of intention. How refreshing to start each encounter with love in your heart. So I decided to visualize that person as the happiest they could be. This visualization isn’t thinking about the person. It’s sitting back and watching them be so joyful and content, like watching a movie. I am amazed at how different I feel about the person after the visualization than I did before it. Then I want what is best for the person and keep looking for it until I find it.
This visualization is not imagination. It’s not wishful thinking. It’s repentance, a turning around a heart and mindset that can harm me and possibly someone else. But, it’s possible every time because God so loved the world that He sent His only-begotten Son, Jesus, to love that person through you and me. Believe it. I do. It beats feeling ugly inside, filled with tension and stress, even angry. And Jesus loves us in those nasty moments as well.
IGNITE THE FIRE!
Fr. Rick Pilger, IC