Monday, April 24, 2006

Man gives information...

But God gives Inspiration...

I'll tell you a story about God and why I believe the way I do. Many years ago, during the "sickest" period of my HIV diseased life, I happened upon a little television show that brought me hope during some of the darkets times of my life. I tell this story every so often to illustrate why I believe God speaks to us in certain terms. My home parish back in Miami is the most wonderfully blessed and sacred space that I have ever been in and had the privelege to grow up in as well.

The good thing about this parish is that they stuck behind me in prayer and support when the greater church at large was raging against the homosexual community. The Pastor of the parish was a sainted man - well - he IS a sainted man included with him are the men who ministered with him to more than 25,000 families and even more today.

The priests in that parish told me that as long as I showed up for mass and prayed that I would get everything that I needed. I went to mass weekly, I even started making mass daily which meant I got on the road at 6:30 to make the trek to the church via a train, 2 busses and a 45 minute walk from the thru-way to the church which was across the street from the higgh school I graduated from.

I went to mass every Sunday night and I was an altar person and a eucharistic minister. I had my assigned hour every week praying before the blessed sacrament. We had a sacrament chapel in the church that was open 24 hours a day around the clock there was always someone praying before the "Blessed Sacrament."

Over those years I went to mass our parish was the proving ground for new priests that were ordained. This is where I met my greatest mentor and my greatest critic. One Sunday I was standing in the church during the processional and a man came in on crutches to say mass. I knew then that God had spoken to me that night. I vowed never to back down from a challenge and I also vowed that unless I was dying that I would never complain about my lot ever again.

Fr. J, had MS and was crippled, yet he suited up and he showed up and he said mass and the next day on that Monday morning I showed up for a morning mass and asked Fr. J to be my spiritual director. This journey lasted a few years. We talked and we prayed, I had reading to do each week and we discussed my progress along the way. I don't have that kind of direction these days, it is hard to nail down holy men to a schedueled meeting. anyways, I digress...

After Sunday Mass I would rush home for a little show I like to call my saving grace in very dark times. It was a little show of little acclaim, but it meant a great deal to me. Get ready for it, here it comes, a little show called "Touched by an Angel." I longed to hear those words spoken every week in any circumstances - I knew that God was in my house each week saying words of hope in the form of angelic messages from Tess, Monica, Raphael, and Andrew.

"I'm an angel sent by God to tell you that God loves you and that he hears you!" No matter what the problem or the sickness or the tragedy there was always hope and a lesson from the almighty about social issues and problems in society. If a little show like this could move someone like to me Hope and to Rely on the Lord, then it mattered to many more people than me. I believe that angels walk the earth and that God makes his presence known in ways we might not always see the forest for the trees. I know it may be hokey and simple, and tv is just tv, it has no value to life, I beg to differ. When I had no one to talk to or was alone for long periods of time, it gave me great comfort to know that at least God was listening to my prayers and that my prayers mattered.

I made some mistakes and I fucked off the path because of my stupidity - and God, I think forgave me for that after all the faith I put in him, and I learned that lesson the hard way and that is enough of that thought.

I have a little "Touched by an Angel" calendar of quotes from the show that sit on my bedside table and I look at it every night. And thanks to the age of VCR's and Syndication, I can get a double dose of TBAA every day here in Montreal. Everyone has an angel, because God loves us unconditionally, no matter what color our skin is, no matter who we are, or what ever life we live. God sees sin and pain and He sees just how the world is running, and it is up to us to make a difference, to bring hope to those who need it, to bring love to those who desire it, to bring comfort to the sick and to love each and every person in our lives. I have tried to uphold those tenets in my life, I believe in God because he believes in me.

I did not need a church to teach me about God's love, because I knew that God loved me every morning that I woke up and I wa still breathing. I have left the path on numerous occasions in my life, and I've been on a really good streak for the last seven years and I intend on keeping on. I listen to God, and I search for him and it is rarely that I don't get a daily reminder that HE is watching over me, in one way or another.

There are so many reads ------> over there that I read at least twice a day, I have a great posse of readers whom I love dearly for their support. I try to lead by example and I hope I have done well. I take time each morning and each night to "remember my spirit" (thank you Oprah,) I am good to myself. And I am good to others as well. If you want to feel good about yourself, go out and do something for someone else without any expectations.

I get that opportunity each and every week on Tuesday's to give back to my community, at my home group of AA. Ms. Nikki and I set up the meeting each and every week, and it has been that way every Tuesday now for the last four-plus years now I've been sober. Each chair I set down during setup is a prayer I offer for one particular person, so I meditate on each and every member that attends our meeting each week, and for every empty chair I pray for the one who will come and maybe sit in that chair. (you just have to be there to understand this ritual).

Do I hear God, yes I do.
Do I listen for God, yes I do.
Do I talk to God, of course I do.

I love walking or hiking up the mountain because I hear God's voice in the trees as the breeze blows through. I hear God every time the church bells ring. From where I live 17 stories above the city we are surrounded by fantastical, sacred chriches. And each day those church bells ring at certain hoursm they call me to stop - get quiet - and I say a short prayer as the bells ring. At my home group in Westmount, they have mass each evening and at 6 p.m. they ring the Angelus bells, like clockwork. We set up and finish before six so that when the bells ring I can stand outside and say my Angelus prayers.

The Angelus is traditionally recited morning (6:00 a.m.), noon and evening (6:00 p.m.) throughout the year except during Paschal time, when the Regina Coeli is recited instead.

V. The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
R. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.
Hail Mary, etc.

V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
R. Be it done unto me according to thy word.
Hail Mary, etc.

V. And the Word was made Flesh.
R. And dwelt among us.
Hail Mary, etc.

V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

LET US PRAY

Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we to whom the Incarnation of Christ Thy Son was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.

*******************************

If we don't take time out of our busy day to remember God and to connect to God, then what are we doing with our days? Where do we find inspiration and energy? How do we maintain a level of serenity to help us through the business of the day? Starting each day on ones knees before God is the way I start my day and doing a gratitude list at the end of the day is also a great way to end ones day. Remembering gratitude keeps me grounded and mindful of all that I have and all that I learned on that given day. Then I come here and I share it with my readers.

Ok, I'm tired of writing today, I've written enough.

God grant me the serenity
to Accept the things I cannot change
the Courage to change the things I can
and the Wisdom to know the difference
Grant me Patience with things that take time
Appreciation for all the I have
Tolerance for those with different struggles
and the Strength to get up and try again
One day at a time

Nitey night!!

1 Comments:

Blogger Mind the Bear said...

Jeremy,
Thanks for sharing some of your story. You have shown (and keep on showing) strength, patience, courage, and faith. Your faith helps build mine. Thanks

Cheers, Joe.

10:13 PM  

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