Hello from the church where I sit and pray in front of Jesus exposed in the Blessed Sacrament.

If He wasn’t so hidden would He be more popular? Would the church be full?

At this stage of my journey with Jesus I believe that the answer would be no!!

Even if Jesus made Himself visible to us all I think He’d be just as unpopular as soon as He mentioned things like “convert”, “pray”, “forgive”, “atone”, “reparation’, “hell”…..

People are simply not drawn or attracted to anything that sounds like hard work and putting it very bluntly, following Jesus is hard work and is indeed very hard and requires a lot of perseverance, determination, integrity, honesty and humility.

Anyway, that aside let me share something more encouraging that happened earlier.

(That’s me with Rayne’s uniform….Nurse Moloney doesn’t like blood, vomit or cleaning. He has limited patience, hates blood and can’t stand whingers!!!!)

Ok, so this lady who regularly visits our church and prays a lot has been going through a hard time. I always go out of my way to say hello to her and chat for a few minutes because I know what it’s like to be in her position.

Usually I simply listen to her and encourage her to keep on going and trusting in Jesus despite the trials that she is experiencing. Some people find it easier than others to accept that the Jesus who loves us is also the Jesus who allows much suffering to come our way and some people can get discouraged by such trials. When it comes to trials and trusting I think I’m a pro at this stage and so find myself in a position to encourage others.

I offered to say a little prayer with her and then she said a prayer for me. It went something like this:

“Thank you Jesus for dear Michael who you are using to help me and talk to me in this darkness where it feels like you have left me. Thank you for sending him to step into the breach, he is such a nice and kind young man”.

To be honest I am so used to being insulted by people that I was speechless and deeply touched by her words which came spontaneously and from her heart.

In many ways I’m simply paying back what I too have received over the years when Jesus used others to help me when things were blacker than black and yet how nice it was today to be thanked and appreciated.

You too may be reaching out in love to others, offering a kind word and a listening ear and at times you may be wondering if it’s doing any good and you may feel discouraged and sick of the lot of it…..Yet, keep on going!!

If we were to get too much encouragement from human beings we might get fat heads with pride. God calls us constantly to act and move in faith by doing what is pleasing to Him regardless of whether people appreciate it or not.

Every now and then (like today for me), He will speak through someone so as to encourage us to keep on going and that what we are doing has great meaning and significance though it be hidden from the eyes of the world.

And so as I sit in this empty church today I have a choice. Do I look backwards at the empty seats or do I gaze forwards to the fullness of love?

“Jesus, thank you for the gift of faith, thank you for your presence all around us regardless of whether we feel it or not. Strengthen the souls of those who are struggling with doubt and despair. Send them love, support and community and inspire each one of us in what we say and in what we do to bring love and hope to every soul we meet today”.

Thanks for reading!

Michael