I was reading an Advent devotional recently and one of the reflection questions asked, “What will you do this week to bring hope to others?” My immediate reaction was, “I don’t have time to do anything more than I’m already doing! I’m spending every free moment helping my son Mike and his wife Sarah get their new home ready to move into before the holidays.” Then it occurred to me that I didn’t have to think of something more to do, but rather, I could bring to God what I was already doing.
Too often, we think that works of mercy need to involve an agency or organization that we can assist in their work with the poor, homeless, or hungry. Certainly these are worthy causes for us to support and participate in. However, we don’t have to look far to see how we are bringing hope to people we interact with everyday, beginning with family.
My son and his wife have great hopes for the old home they bought after struggling to save their money, even moving in with Sarah’s parents for over a year. On any given day for the past month, Sarah’s dad and I have been present in their new but old and empty home, putting up dry wall, plastering, sanding, and painting. I have no doubt that our presence, support, and work are bringing them great hope—the hope that young, hard-working young people desperately need as they set out on their own to make their way in the world.
I didn’t need to do more. I just needed to bring what I was doing to the Lord so that I could see it in a spiritual light. The Catechism tells us that “prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God.” We don’t have to clear our minds and hearts to pray. We need to bring what’s in our minds and hearts to God to help us see things in a new light.
The next time you and I hear the words, “Lift up your hearts!” we need to stop and ask, “What’s in my heart that I am lifting up to God?” and, “How can God help me to see what’s in my heart in a new way?”
In the meantime, I can’t wait to go back to Mike and Sarah’s new home and paint the next room. Nothing says hope like a freshly painted room!
What are you doing currently that is bringing hope to someone else?
thanks Joe, well said!