FROM THE PASTORS DESK
SLAVA ISUSU KHRYSTU! GLORY BE TO JESUS CHRIST!
This page is dedicated to Pastor Bohdan Lukie who serves the Ukrainian Catholic Church here in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, Canada. He has a weekly teaching for the faithful in the church bulletin called ” From the Pastors Desk.” I have been inspired by his weekly teachings. So, with this our “Words From the Bishop” web-site…we want to share his insights to you. I know you will also be inspired with them. Although it one thing to read some spiritual teachings it is some thing else to put it into practice. So, hopefully his message will leave an imprint in your heart
I extend my heartfelt and warmest greetings to all the Fathers (and of course, grandfathers too) and pray that God the Father blesses each and everyone of you! Do you remember a popular columnist of long ago, Erma Bombeck, who wrote many fascinating articles on multifarious topics? This is one of her “goldies” When God Made a Father – Erma Bombeck When the good Lord was creating Fathers, He started off with a tall frame. And a female angel nearby said, “What kind of Father is that? If you’re going to make children so close to the ground, why have you put Father up so high? He won’t be able to shoot marbles without kneeling, tuck a child in bed without bending, or even kiss a child without a lot of stooping.” God smiled and said, “Yes, but if I make him child-size, whom would children have to look up to?” And when God made a Father’s hands, they were large and sinewy. The angel shook her head and said, “Large hands can’t manage diaper pins, small buttons, rubber bands on ponytails, or remove splinters caused by baseball bats.” And God smiling said, “I know, but they’re large enough to hold everything a small boy empties from his pockets, yet small enough to cup a child’s face in.” Then God molded long, slim legs and broad shoulders. “Do you realize you just made a Father without a lap?”the angel said. God said, “A Mother needs a lap. A Father needs strong shoulders pull a sled,to balance a boy on a bike, or to hold a sleepy head on the way home from the circus.” God was in the middle of creating two of the largest feet anyone had ever seen when the angel could contain herself no longer. “That’s not fair! Do you honestly think those large boots are going to dig out of bed early in the morning when the baby cries? Or walk through a small birthday party without crushingat least three of the guests?” God smiled and said,“They’ll work. You’ll see! They’ll support a small child who wants to ride a horse or scare off mice at the summer cabin, or display shoes that will be a challenge to fill.” God worked throughout the night, giving the Father few words, but a firm authoritative voice; eyes that saw everything, but remained calm and tolerant. Finally, almost as an afterthought, he added – tears. The He turned to the angel and said, “Now, are you satisfied that he can love as much as a Mother?” And the angel spoke no more! May Jesus bless all of you on this special day!
.This is the time of year for graduations and I am sure that some of you have children or children of friends, who have just completed some level of schooling. And so you might find the following story interesting… A young man was getting ready to graduate from a university. For a long time he had admired a beautiful sports car in a dealer’s showroom and knowing his father could well afford it he told him that was all that he wanted as a graduation gift. As his graduation day approached the young man began looking for signs that his father had bought the car. Finally on the morning of his graduation, his father called him to his room and told him how proud he was to have such a fine son and told him how much he loved him. He handed his son a beautifully wrapped gift box. Curious, the young man opened the box and found a lovely leather bound Bible with his name embossed n gold. Angry that this was not a car, he raised his voice to his father and said, “With all your money, you give me a Bible?”and then stormed out of the house, leaving the Bible at home. Many years passed and the young man was very successful in his own business. He had a beautiful home, a wonderful family, but realized his father was very old–perhaps he should go to him as he had not spoken to himsince that graduation day. Before he could make arrangements, he received a telegram telling him that his father had passed away and had willed all his possessions to his son so he needed to come home and take care of things. When he arrived at his father’s house sadness and regret filled his heart. He began sorting through his father’s papers and saw the still new Bible as he had left it years ago. With tears in his eyes he opened the Bible and as he turned the pages a car key dropped from the back of the Bible. It had a tag with the dealer’s name and on the tag was the date of his graduation and the words “paid in full”. How many times we miss out on blessings because they are not packaged as we expected!How often our expectations become such a priority that they completely cloud or even poison our outlook on life. And how often that, which we expect to receive, is something material…and is not worth the disappointment that we experience for we will not be taking it to our grace with us anyway. Giftsare not something that life owes us…they are simply things that someone has chosen to give us from the goodness of their heart. Let us never judge people by the “things”that they bring…or do not bring…as gifts. How easily we can mis-judge others and thus bring only misery to ourselves and to those whom we claim to love.
Two weeks ago we had the opportunity of warmly hosting various groups – two weeks ago, some 13 fellow Redemptorists enliven this historic place with their laughter and joy and hordes of discussions, this past week we hosted some 5 novices from Toronto who wished to know more about us Ukrainian CSsR’ers, and joyfully the Adult Lay Formation continues their monthly religious program. These rooms are perfect for all these occasions… During my 9 years in Winnipeg, I had the pleasure of annually planting a large garden and caring for it. Truly it was a wonderful ‘escape’and great therapy. I miss it! And speaking of gardens…If you plant one, may it grow and truly flourish. In fact, the cute message of this week will be of a ‘gardening nature’for you to consider: PLANT HAPPINESSFirst plant 5 rows of “peas” Then 5 rows of“lettuce”Prayer Let us be Faithful to dutyPerseverance Let us be TruthfulPoliteness Let us be UnselfishPromptness Let us Follow ChristPurity Let us Love one Another Next plant 3 rows of“squash” No garden is complete without “turnips” Squash gossip Turn up for Church Squash criticism Turn up with a Smile Squash indifference Turn up with new ideas Turn up with determination to make everything count for something good and worthwhile
Some years ago I was challenged to define, in a few short words, the role of the priest in the community. I responded to this challenge with the following choice words: “To comfort the disturbed and to disturb the comfortable!” Later as I reflected upon these words, I realized how truly apt and appropriate were these words a reflection of the Mission of Jesus, not only during His earthly lifetime, but also very much today. It was Jesus, the Son of God, who was born among us “to comfort the dis-turbed” – that is, to heal those who were hurting, to cure the broken-hearted and the crippled, to ease the pain of those struggling with the trials and tribulations of life, to provide comfort to those searching and yearning for greater life, to touch the lonely and the lost with love and kindness and caring. And yes, Jesus also came and walked on earth “to disturb the comfort-able” – that is, to challenge the complacent and the smug, to question the religious practices of the faithful, to explore the hearts of the believers, to encourage everyone to sincerely examine their beliefs and practices. Jesus was very concerned that those who said “yes” to His invitation “Come,follow me!” would respond generously, not only in word and thought, but also inaction and deed. As your spiritual leader and pastor, I believe my commission and vocation from God is to follow the footsteps of Jesus and to do as He did -“to comfort the disturbed and to disturb the comfortable”. This I will try to do with you and for you in my years as your priest and pastor. Your needs and hurts should, God willing, also be mine. Your frustrations and struggles should be mine too. Your successes and joys are at the same time my successes and joys. I promise to do my best to know you and serve you and to help you on your spiritual journey of faith. I will always try to comfortyou, to provide the love and care of Jesus but also at times I may have to disturbyou into challenging your faith and your religious commitment to Christ and to our Church. At times I will succeed and yes, sadly, at times I will fail, but still together we can and must challenge each other to respond to God’s invitation to love one another.
Most people procrastinate. Do you? Sooner or later we all wait for tomorrow to do something that should be done today and very often tomorrow is too late! So today I come to ou with a suggestion…don’t wait! Don’t wait to see someone smile before you become friendly. Don’t wait for someone to love you – love them first. Don’t wait until you have tasted loneliness to understandthe value of friendship. Don’t wait for an ideal job to start working. Don’t wait to have much, you can share even if you have very little. Don’t wait until you have a problem to appreciate advice. Don’t wait for pain to believe in prayer. Don’t wait for an ideal situation in order to offer your help to someone. Don’t wait to see others suffer to ask them for forgiveness. So many of us wait for the world to smile at us…we wait for some else to do it first. So today I come to you with a suggestion…don’t wait! Don’t wait to see someone smile before you become friendly. Don’t wait for someone to love you – love them first. Don’t wait until you have tasted loneliness to understandthe value of friendship. Don’t wait for an ideal job to start working. Don’t wait to have much, you can share even if you have very little. Don’t wait until you have a problem to appreciate advice. Don’t wait for pain to believe in prayer. Don’t wait for an ideal situation in order to offer your help to someone. Don’t wait to see others suffer to ask them for forgiveness. So many of us wait for the world to smile at us…we wait for tomorrow to do something that should be done today and very often tomorrow is too late! So today I come to you with a suggestion…don’t wait! Don’t wait to see someone smile before you become friendly. Don’t wait for someone to love you – love them first. Don’t wait until you have tasted loneliness to understandthe value of friendship. Don’t wait for an ideal job to start working. Don’t wait to have much, you can share even if you have very little. Don’t wait until you have a problem to appreciate advice. Don’t wait for pain to believe in prayer. Don’t wait for an ideal situation in order to offer your help to someone. Don’t wait to see others suffer to ask them for forgiveness. So many of us wait for the world to smile at us…we wait for someone to invite us… we wait for someone to come to our doorstep bearing gifts…wew ait for someone to compliment us… And yet how often we forget that warmthc omes from giving, not receiving. People are friendly to those who are friendly tot hem so let us not waste precious time waiting for the world to love us – it’s time tol ove first! If you want to know the value of friendship, talk to an older person who haso utlived their friends. Let us not wait for our friends to be gone to truly appreciatet hem. Let us appreciate them… let us honour them… let us truly love them TODAY!
Let’s not wait! And there are so many people that we can love – there are family and friends,o f course, but we can also love perfect strangers! And we do not have to be veryr ich to share our wealth, for wealth is not necessarily that which carries a dollar sign. We can share time… we can share attention… we can share warmth… and we can share kindness… And it makes no sense to wait for a perfect time to be generous, for there is no time that is more perfect than NOW! Let’s not wait! And let us not wait for prayer.We all have our own way of praying: some ofu s set aside time to contemplate for long hours. Others pray earnestly but chaoti-c ally. Still others just send telegraphic messages to their God and Saviour. But onet hing is for certain – we all sooner or later pray most earnestly when we are faced with pain or with an acute problem. Let us not wait for a crisis. Let’s stop to pray NOW!And as we pray, let us ask for forgiveness… “as WE FORGIVE those who trespass against us!” We can avoid much pain and suffering by being forgiving… Let’s not wait!Let us not wait for none of us knows how much time we have left here on earth. Let us thus use the time we have left, wisely. Let us bring warmth and love and peace and joy to all we meet and greet….
Our culture often reminds us to stay fit. We are offered all sorts of gyms and apparatus to firm our muscles and to keep our bodies strong. This is not only necessary for our health but that it will also make us appealing to others. But as you well know, no apparatus will ever do anything for us unless we use itregularly. And this requires discipline – Self disciplinewhich no one can do for us but ourselves. No matter how much you love a person you cannot do their exercise for them. And no matter how much someone loves you, their love for you and their desire to help you will not move even one muscle in your body without you doing it yourself. And if you truly believe that you need to be fit, then you have to apply your self discipline to all areas of your body – you have to exercise regularly and you have to watch what you eat. It takes will powerto stay in shape. Ah! The same applies to our souls. If we want to be strong spiritually, we have to work at our spiritual muscles! If we want to strengthen our relationship with God, WE HAVE TO WORK AT IT! We need to keep our bodies moving in order to strengthen them; with our souls, however, it is the exact opposite. In order to strengthen our souls, we have to StoP! We have to find solitude and silenceand connect with our inner most thoughts. We have to seek exercise through spiritual readings and through prayer. Our Ukrainian Church offers many various religious services and programs to help us strengthen our spiritual muscles!. Please let us never forget that “We cannot ask god to guide our footsteps if we are not willing to move our feet!” Let us “move our feet”… by beginning our day and ending our day with no bodily movement!Let us refrain from anything physical until we have shared our quiet solitude with god. A busy day comes and it goes and if we don’t take this time at the very start of the day, chances are we will not stop to pray. We can do this with God alone or we can share this time of prayer with someone else. But Let uS Pray!If we make the time and take the effort to get closer to God we can then ask Him to always be with us. We can ask Him to guide our steps as we make our way through days that tempt us with many different appetites, emotions and choices to make.god loves us!He created us and gave us life! He created the world for us! God sent His Son, who died for us! Let us respond to this love. Let us respond though prayer and self- denial.Self-denialis the exercise for the soul. Without it the soul will become weak and flabby and will not be able to stand up to temptation. May you have the strength “to move your spiritualfeet” and may this bring you to a closer relationship with God – that I wish and pray..
THANK YOU FOR STUDYING THESE MESSAGES.