And just like that I’ve officially been in the Bronx for a month. One thing I have learned over these past 4 weeks is this: The Father’s greatest joy is to love me. Seriously, The Father’s greatest joy is to love me.
This is what I was created for, and I have seen it through prayer, people, an the everyday little things. This is not to say it’s been a piece of cake here in the Bronx, just ask my boyfriend (I’ve cried a lot). But everyday I have seen the Father go above and beyond to love me.
Picture this, a father comes home after a long hard day of work. He is sweating from being out in the heat, the boss man yelled at him today, he’s hungry, and he didn’t sleep well last night. He walks in ready to flop onto the couch, but he hears a real soft cry from the back bedroom. He instantly drops everything. His heart is moved towards his daughter, whom he knows is on the other side of that bedroom door. Pressing his ear up to the door, he asks “What’s wrong baby girl?”
She reluctantly opens the door just a crack. He peeks in to see the tears rolling down her cheeks. As he presses his way in the tears begin to roll down even faster, as she tries to hide her face. And He gently whispers “Just let me hold you”.
He gently picks her up and she rests her head upon his shoulders. Her feet dangle and he gently squeezes her close to his chest. She begins to mutter all the little worries that exhaust her little heart. She pulls back as he says “Look at me, I got you.” She gazes into his eyes and starts to smile.
This my friends is the image of the father I have come to know since being in the Bronx. God the Father loves deeply, and with great joy, even if it means suffering for the other. Just like it was a great joy to be with the Fransiscan Friars and Sisters of the Renewal outside of Planned Parenthood. It certainly was not the kind of joy any eye could recognize, but the kind of joy that comes form dying to oneself for the good of the other. The joy of not being afraid to suffer. The joy that comes from knowing that even if I walk through the Valley of Death the Lord is going to provide. He is not just a good father, He is a perfect father. And what father does not want to provide for his children? What father does not want to protect his children? And who am I to doubt that?
I could come up with a thousand reasons to leave the Bronx, but I won’t. Because I have a Father who’s greatest joy is to love me, and I want every kid in the Bronx to know they have that too. I could sit and worry about every little thing under the sun, my debt, money, missing home, having to walk in the streets, all of it. But I refuse to. I’m not going to bathe myself in the lie that the Father is going to leave me short handed. If my earthly father doesn’t do that, why would my Heavenly Father? If I sit and worry about these things what does that say to the people around me? In fact, I think it’s ironic that this week I have passed by two different kids who were walking with their dad and crying probably because they were in trouble. My natural human thought was, “Jeesh, Dad must be a little harsh today.” Whether that’s true or not, that’s what I thought. What is true is that they have a dad, they have a dad who cares, but that’s not what we think about when you see a disappointed dad and a crying kid. Now I’m not saying that these dads were bad or that these kids needed to toughen up. What I am saying is this: If I walk around sulking and always focused on the negatives then no kid is ever going to believe me when I say I have a Father in heaven who loves me. And is that not why I moved half way across the country? I want these kids to know this above all else. So what’s it gonna take?
I’ll tell you what it’s going to take. It’s going to take a grateful attitude and a heart that is deeply rooted in prayer. It’s going to be tough out here, but if I can get one kid to truly believe that the Father’s greatest joy is to love them, it’s worth it. And if the Father’s greatest joy is to love, shall that not also be my greatest joy as well?
Also it’s my favorite Saints feast day, along with my reversion anniversary on Monday. So let’s celebrate with a few quotes from my homie, St. Maximilian Kolbe!!!
“A single act of love makes the soul return to life.”St. Maximilian Kolbe
Let us remember that love lives through sacrifice and is nourished by giving. Without sacrifice, there is no love.”St. Maximilian Kolbe