Most Reverend Jerome E. Listecki
Archbishop of Milwaukee
It is remarkable how many things we depend upon, yet take for granted. On Sunday morning at 5 a.m., I awoke without an alarm clock. This was not unusual. However, what was unusual was, as I reached for the light switch, the lights did not turn on. Thinking that the bulb had burned out, I reached for another switch and, again, nothing. I was in the dark. No lights in the bathroom, no lights in the sitting room. I needed to move forward. My routine was broken.
As the sun was emerging, I was able to use natural light to put on my exercise clothes and go down to the basement chapel for prayers and the stationary bike. My normal daily routine would be to celebrate Mass, except on days that I was scheduled for a service, say my prayers, then exercise and make breakfast, which always consists of oatmeal, blueberries and 21 almonds (not 22 or 20, but exactly 21). But, this morning was different. No microwave, therefore, no hot cereal. It was cold cornflakes. The Keurig lay dormant, which meant no coffee.
That Sunday morning, I was scheduled for the installation Mass of Fr. Mark Payne as pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish, Milwaukee. Luckily, the homily was not on the computer, because there was no energy to fire it up. There is an electric gate surrounding the property of my residence that would now not function, as well as the automatic garage door, which would now have to be operated manually. Years ago, these inconveniences would be daily, common, normal operations. Nikola Tesla would harness electricity, and life as our ancestors knew it would change forever.
You could easily say that I and others are spoiled by the conveniences we take for granted. Many individuals involved with national security warn of attacks on our country’s energy grids. My little eight-hour experience certainly demonstrates how dependent I am, and how devastating it would be for an entire community or nation to lose energy.
I guess when we have so much at our disposal, it is easy for us to take for granted those who provide for us. Take, for instance, the sacrifices that our families make on our behalf, or our friends who go out of their way to assist us in times of need. We need to be a people who live in gratitude, which may motivate us to desire to share our blessings with others, especially our loved ones.
God’s energy is called “grace.” It is provided for us to live lives of holiness. There is a power of God’s presence in everything that we do, which, when we participate with it, keeps us on the path that leads us, ultimately, to an everlasting life with Him. His love is freely given. We can’t earn it, and we certainly don’t deserve it, but we are nothing without it. If we live in gratitude for God’s love for us, then it becomes easy to understand why we should LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
Note: This blog originally appeared as the June 12, 2018 "Love One Another" email sent to Catholics throughout the Archdiocese of Milwaukee by Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki. If you are interested in signing up for these email messages, please click here.