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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

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Our presence to others can be the best gift we can give people

Our presence to others can be the best gift we can give people

Visiting others can be an expression of friendship and caring. Every visit can be holy if we bring our love to those we visit.

The following are some categories of people with whom we can share our love and concern: 1) friends and family members; 2) new neighbors; 3) new members into our family through marriage, adoption or fostering; 4) new parishioners; 5) those who have no one to visit them; 6) those in hospitals and nursing homes.

Many people spend most of their young and healthy years working almost exclusively for material things. They give their time and energy to make sure that they meet the physical needs of their families.

Often this is done at a great price. They often neglect their families’ real needs.

What people really need are each other’s presence. These two stories might illustrate this.

An ancient Persian king loved to disguise himself and mingle with his people. Once, he dressed as a poor man and descended a long flight of stairs into a tiny dark and damp cellar where a laborer was tending the furnace. The king sat beside him and began to talk. At mealtime, the worker produced some coarse black bread and a jug of water. They ate and drank.

The king went away, but returned often, for his heart was filled with sympathy for the lonely man. Over time, they became very good friends.

After a while, the king thought, “I will tell him who I am, and see for what gift he will ask.”
So he did.

The worker didn’t ask for anything. The astonished king said, “Don’t you realize that I can give you anything, even a city to govern?”

The man gently replied, “I understand, your Majesty. You have already given the greatest gift a person could receive. You left your palace to sit with me here in this dark and lonely place. You could give me nothing more precious. You have given yourself, and that is far more than I could ever deserve.”

The king thought that some physical gift would make the poor man happy. All the poor man wanted was the companionship of the king.

The second story: A woman came home from work late, tired and irritated, to find her 7-year-old son waiting for her at the door. “Mummy, how much do you make an hour?”

“Why do you ask?” the woman said angrily. “If you must know, I make $20 an hour.”

“Mummy, may I please borrow $10?”

The mother was furious. “If the only reason you asked to borrow some money is to buy a silly toy, then march straight to your room and go to bed. Think about why you are being so selfish. I don’t work hard every day for such childish things.”

The little boy quietly went to his room while his mother tried to calm down. Maybe he really needed to buy something with that $10. She went to the little boy’s room and opened the door.

“Are you asleep, son?” she asked.

“No, Mummy, I’m awake.”

“Maybe I was too hard on you earlier,” said the woman. “It’s been a long day and I took my aggravation out on you. Here’s the $10 you asked for.”

The little boy sat up, smiling, “Oh, thank you, Mummy!” he yelled.

Then, reaching under his pillow, he pulled out some crumpled up bills. The woman saw that the boy already had money, started to get angry again. The little boy slowly counted out his money, and then looked up at his mother.

“Mummy, I have $20 now. Can I buy an hour of your time? Please come home early tomorrow. I would like to have dinner with you.”

With teary eyes she put her arms around her little son and begged for forgiveness.