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Open Your Eyes

A priest,, who did a tour of duty as an army chaplain in Vietnam, tells this story: 

I learned an important lesson in life, and it’s this: What makes us miserable is not so much the circumstances of our lives, but our expectations of what and how life should be. I learned this the hard way. I was anointing a guy who was dying when there was another explosion and I lost my sight and my leg was badly damaged. So I said to God, “Thanks a lot! I’ve been a good priest and I’ve been faithful to my vows. This is how you protect me? I’m not very happy, God!”

While I was in the military hospital, I met many people who had worse injuries than me. One day I was pouting, and the guy in the next bed over said to me, “What’s the matter?” I told him about my sight and my leg, and he said, “I lost both legs and I can only see out of one eye, and not all that well. And in the face of all this I asked God, “What’s my purpose now?”

The guy didn’t know I was a priest and he told me that he was a Catholic, and that both his parents were very devout. He said, “I found my purpose in this hospital. Here’s what I do, I listen. I let people talk and I listen to them and I don’t interrupt. Then I tell them a truth that I have come to understand myself. That Christ has his eyes fixed on you. Then I tell them that ‘they are to help other people see that despite the injuries, or whatever difficulties you have encountered, you can remain steadfast and firm in your beliefs; that you can actually be grateful to God.’ That they were chosen to do this.

We can very easily let things in our life get the better of us. Yet, when we think about the situation of this priest and his hospital room mate, sometimes our day to day problems seem kind of silly—not all that important. 

And we can always find someone worse off that us. But that’s not the point. Here’s the point: That we get to choose how we will respond to what God is asking of us in our situation. Our talk is to open our eyes and see the light of Christ. See thinks differently. Stop making everything about yourself. Follow Christ’s light that is leading you.  Don’t miss his presence in your midst. The Scribes and Pharisees could have cared less about the events in Bethlehem that first Christmas. The wise men had a different take on things.

Certainly we can let off steam from time to time. But our task is to be steady and steadfast. And even when you find yourself complaining, also tell God that you still trust him and ask him to help you.

Remember, this is the God who turns the dark days into days of light. So follow the light of Christ as did the magi. They were aware of something special in their midst, and the knew that it was important enough to pay attention to.

Following the star changed their perspective on life, and we are asked to do the same. 

“Lift your eyes round about, and see.”

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