Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Basking in the Son

I have lived in Florida longer than I've lived anywhere else in my entire life. Tim and I moved here over 12 years ago, just because. My parents were living here and after visiting them we fell in love with the beautiful scenery, the breathtaking views and, of course, the tropical weather. We visited them for a week in early July 1997, and literally two weeks later packed up all our belongings and moved here ourselves. We have been enjoying our life in the Sunshine State ever since.
When we first moved here we appreciated the mild climate, the bright blue skies, and the beautiful coastline so much that we spent every Sunday afternoon basking in the sun on the white sand of Clearwater beach. The beach had such an allure we started going on Friday evenings as well. After living up north for our whole lives we were truly grateful for the warmth of the south. We loved our Florida home and the lifestyle that came with it.
Over time, though our love for the Sunshine State did not really diminish, we stopped going to the beach every week. Life got busier, and we got more and more used to the beautiful sights all around us. We started taking it all for granted. The beach would always be there next weekend if we just couldn't get there this weekend.
Every once in a while I am still reminded of how lucky I am to live here though. Recently a missionary priest visited our church. He had spent 17 years serving the poor of Kenya and shared many stories of his life there. He told of people, who were so poor they had only one meal a day, walking up to two hours to attend Mass on Sundays. He went on to point out, that after the two hour walk and the hour long Mass another two hour journey was required to then return home. I was struck by the dedication of a people who, though probably weak from hunger, so appreciated their faith that they were willing to go to great lengths and great sacrifice to take part in weekly Mass. I found myself thinking about their plight and even more importantly, their faith. It struck me that perhaps, though I have plenty to eat, I am the one who is truly weak. I realized that my own faith, or at least my own appreciation of my faith and my Church, seemed to be greatly lacking when compared to theirs.
I am so blessed to live here in Florida, here in America, not only because the sun is always shining but more importantly because the Son is always available to me. I can, at any time, walk to my own church in less than 15 minutes time. I can make it there in only 2 minutes time by car. I can sit before the Blessed Sacrament or attend daily Mass and receive, into my own body, the Eucharist every day! Yet, like the sun shining in the sky above me, I have come to take the Son, shining forth His love upon me, for granted. If I don't make it to Mass today, there is another one tomorrow.
Every once in a while I look at the magnificent views around me and wonder how I can ever get too busy to appreciate it all. Yet, I am even more often too busy and distracted to appreciate the beauty and magnificence of my Catholic faith. It is so easy, in my life of ease and comfort, to lose sight of the greatest blessings in my life. It is so easy, knowing the Church is right around the corner, to put off visiting it. How sad it is that the greater our opportunities to meet God, in our Church and in the Sacraments, the less we appreciate Him. I pray I will learn from the poor how to be really grateful for the riches of faith that I have, and I pray I will not take the ability to bask in the Son for granted again.

1 comment:

  1. So often we think about the bad aspects of Florida, the urban sprawl, the difficulties the state is going through. I enjoyed reading about the good.



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