When we find ourselves in the difficult position of being unable to spiritually help those whom we love, it is very easy to become disappointed. At times, such disappointment can even lead to resentment and anger. However, if we remember the spiritual fact that God loves those whom we are unable to help, whether they be our children, grandchildren, siblings or friends, in ways that are both generous and unknown to us, we have a powerful reason to fight against developing such resentment and anger. Rather, we must surrender to God and ask Him every day to do for those whom we love what we cannot do for them ourselves.
The other insight that gives me great solace is the assurance that witness is always more important than advice. What I mean is that we often wish to help someone by offering advice, often drawn from our own personal experience, to help the person avoid the mistakes that we fell into in life. Most often, such advice falls on deaf ears. However, our witness, which includes the way we now live our lives, the joy we demonstrate, and our commitment to love them even when they avoid our help or advice, is a powerful way to give them “advice without words.” At first, they may ignore or dismiss our witness. However, integrity of life always wins out over indifference and hostility. So what may at first seem to be fruitless, as we try to lead people in faith by our advice and counsel, may actually in time bear great fruit, by the actions of our lives, which includes the fact that we did not give up on loving them.
Being a prophet in one’s own land is never easy. However, if we learn to trust in God’s love for the people around us and we remain faithful to what we believe, the path forward may in time become easier than we first realized.
The previous reflection originally appeared on Bishop Frank Caggiano’s Facebook page. Follow the Bishop for daily reflections and weekly videos!