Stay awake to grab the God moments before us … opportunities to love, which give us joy and meaning in life


Stay awake to grab the God moments before us … opportunities to love, which give us joy and meaning in life

It seems the only time most people want to stay awake, today, is late at night as they go for a party!  In the morning, when daylight comes, it often brings groans and sometimes a headache!

Jesus does not invite us to stay awake, today, He shouts to us: Stay Awake!!  Why?  Because life is passing us by, and we seem to be always tired: tired of some people in our lives; tired of poverty; tired of working; tired of looking for the right partner (or tired of the wrong partner!).

Young people are so important to our world because they understand that we should be happy! And they are and should be a great reminder to older, stressed people “to be happy!” But, so many of us are not happy.  So, it’s wise we listen to Christ speaking to us:

Stay awake! because opportunities are passing us by, opportunities that will lead us into joy and meaning.  I recently saw bits of movie called “Letters to Juliet.”  I usually find romantic movies boring, but this one intrigued me.  Watch it if you can.  It’s good, clean and moving.

There’s a wall in Verona (Italy), where people leave love letters in a wall.  Sophie, a young lady meets the Secretaries of Juliet, who take the letters and write replies to them.  As they read out the letters, one old lady in the group laughs and says: “men are like wine, they take a long time to mature.”  Sophie finds a very old letter hidden in a crack (50 years earlier).  She writes to the lady (in England).  The lady (now a grandmother) comes to Verona to find Sophie, accompanied by her grumpy grandson.  It’s a story of looking for the lost Lorenzo.  They find 74 of them and work their way through the list.  Eventually, despite the grandson frequently saying “it’s useless, let’s go home,” the lady finds her lost Lorenzo.  It’s a beautiful moment.  In the week of searching for Lorenzo, Sophie and the grandson have an interesting relationship: he starts off as angry and rude to Sophie for wasting the grandmother’s time and getting her all emotional.  But, by the end, they like each other.  When Sophie leaves them, the grandson gazes longingly after her; so the grandmother says: “there are very few Sophie’s in the world, go after her; don’t wait 50 years like I have done!

How many opportunities to love have we missed?  So often Religion is portrayed as a series of rules and prohibitions.  And people get tired of it.  However, most of the “do’s” and “don’ts” are all designed to help us love the right things, avoid the bad things that lead us to sadness and pain.  God is the great lover, and wants us to love and be loved, so we can be truly happy.

When we are young, our sex hormones drive us crazy and into romantic eros.  Often confusing sex for love.  But, true love is that which gives meaning and lasting joy;
is the sacrificial love we give to others: our sacrifices to help, to listen, to share.

This is why Jesus practically shouts to us, today: Stay Awake!  So we can see the opportunities before us each and every day to have a God moment: a moment to help, and a moment to say “thank you God” when someone helps us.

We should also Stay Awake so we can see clearly when we should say NO, or run away from some temptation or situation that will hurt us over time (eg. drugs, pornography, etc).  The things that destroy us are usually moments of selfishness; different to moments of self-care.

Advent is a great moment to jolt us back to basics: we are all called to be lovers: sometimes for the erotic, but most of the time for friendship and compassion.

Advent is the preparation for Christmas.  How do we prepare?  Do something practical.
My suggestion (ignore me if you like):
1. get a small notebook;
2. Every day write down each God moment you saw or felt (you can stop after 50);
3. Every night say thank you to God;

By the time you reach Christmas you should be like a young man who has fallen in love. Writing is a powerful way of training the unconscious mind to think positive things: thoughts of appreciation, moments of awe, increasing our hope, joy and enjoyment of life!

In the first Chapter of Mark, someone counted up the word, immediately: 14 times in one chapter.  Why?  Christ is anxious for our happiness.  We are invited 14 times to make changes IMMEDIATELY.  Don’t wait.  God wants to give us opportunities to love and be loved, and thereby feel great joy and hope in your life.

Let’s begin with Reconciliation: start again and look forward; otherwise we continue hurting: Confucius say: man who walk and look over shoulder, fall over.

We have 22 days left to record our God moments.  22 days left to immediately grab the opportunities for love and joy given to us.  Stay AwakeChoose life!

By Gerard Conlan, OMI