Election season is a time for promises.
It’s election season and our politicians are either promising everything they didn’t deliver after winning the last election or explaining how it’s going to get even worse if the other party wins.
It is a time of endless distractions, mind-boggling speeches, and those heated discussions with our good friends. We get lost in the endless pandemonium. Whom can we believe? What commercials tell the real story? Shall I vote for the same party or is it time for a change? In all this shouting and mayhem, who is painting a truthful picture I can trust? Where does reality lie?
When Joel was an energetic four-year-old, he was always in trouble or one step away from it. He never rushed home when his mother called which only angered and frustrated her. He loved to play soccer but got so involved in the rules and playing fairly that he caused arguments on the soccer field. Then his dad became angry. Among the many voices in his life, the one voice that was gentle and kind was his grandmother.
Poor Joel! He often felt had no one to turn to, except his 74-year-old grandmother, Nana. She loved Joel and thought he was the greatest grandson in the world. She always listened to him and baked his favorite peanut butter cookies. Joel felt warm and loved when he was with Nana. He felt her love every time she hugged him. He could trust Nana to always be there with just the right comforting words. And she listened no matter how busy she seemed. Joel was special to her, and he knew it.
One day she asked Joel for a special birthday present. Would he learn the Hail Mary for her? Joel was never into studying or sitting around memorizing. Joel would rather be on the soccer field kicking the ball. But for Nana he would give it his best effort. Joel practiced faithfully and with the help of his kindergarten teacher, he made progress.
Her birthday arrived and to the astonishment of all, especially his parents, Joel recited slowly and perfectly the Hail Mary. His parents were blown away by his reverent voice and quiet demeanor. He recited it “like an angel” his Mom said. In tears, his Nana kissed him and his parents applauded. Joel was a hero.
But to Nana, he already was a hero. She saw what others could not: a heart full of goodness and beauty. Joel just needed love and tenderness to bring it out! Yelling and harsh words made no impact on Joel much like the words of our yelling politicians have little effect on us. Honey does catch more flies than does vinegar in every aspect of life.
Francis de Sales is the important apostle of love and not force. He encouraged that we do everything through kindness and nothing through fear. He wrote:
“Love is the life of the heart. Just as weights help clocks keep time so love gives life to the soul. All our affections follow our love." Joel felt the love of his Nana and his affections followed that love.
Everything through love and nothing through fear.
-St. Francis de Sales
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Blessings, Fr. De Lillio