Dear Abbey Members and Friends:
Following is a reflection by Fr. Don Talafous of St John’s Abbey from a couple of weeks ago.
“Conceivably there are some exceptional individuals, perhaps only inexperienced and too protected, who feel that encouragement is unnecessary. But most of us need it daily. And, fortunately, we often get it from husband or wife, family, friends. That can all change, of course, with the loss of one of these stalwart supports in our life. "Encourage one another while it is still 'today'," Hebrews says (3:12-13). It's unlikely that anyone of us will ever feel that we've had too much encouragement. (It's close to love and compliments; do we ever get enough?) God encourages us through the example of others, through their words, gestures, calls, visits, letters, their taking the time to gauge our feelings. And, more wordlessly, through their example of love, faith, confidence, even joy. Keeping a high and even cheerful confidence in the Lord is helped by like-minded friends, fellow parishioners, associates. God knows there are enough sad people in our world who do not have this confidence. Showing this confidence and joy ourselves is a gift we can give the world.”
For me there has been a lot of sadness in my life lately – death of a good friend, illness of others, loss of employment, unrest and conflict in our families, uncertainty in the world around us. So, the meditation is a reminder of the blessings around me. Our Abbey Community does have people who encourage one another, pray for one another, and try to lessen the burdens of those in distress...and I have been a recipient of that encouragement.
The challenge for me this day is remember that there is a God who loves me intensely and there are people in our Community who reflect that love on me. With that knowledge, I can take on a more optimistic and joyful view of the world. With God’s help and the Community’s support, I can be one of those who encourages and is there to support others in their journey. The wonder of our God is that God loves each of us as a first born. We are all called to reflect that love in our dealings with others. Can we answer that call to be beacons of encouragement in our world?
Shalom and many blessings, George