My beloved spiritual brothers and sisters in Christ God,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
"GO FORTH AND NEVER FEAR"
My siblings and I were taught by our father to ‘go forth and never fear’. A motto which we all followed closely throughout our lives. It reflected the strong faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ of our pious Christian parents. When my father uttered those words of conviction, we knew that they were real and that the message came out of a life of struggle, poverty, war, death, and sacrifice. But along with all that, there was a triumph, joy, success, courage, daring, confidence in the future, and determination. My parent’s life depicted the resilience of the human spirit and the unwillingness to surrender to misfortune, pain, and even sorrow. I don’t ever remember, after both of my parents went through so many trials and faced the numerous challenges in life, that they would think of giving up. Instead, their faith in God, the love for each other, and that of their children grew and became ever greater.
I am the youngest of five children who was born in 1943. The world was at war. World War II was taking place and the European Continent was on fire. No one knew what the outcome of this war would be. Both of my parents were handicap and yet they did not allow their physical problems to prevent them from going forth without fear. I can only say that their example inspired all of us and their fearlessness inspired us to emulate their good and positive example.
Why am I opening my heart to you at this time? It is because I see that there are many who need to have the same inspiration and good example as we did a long time ago. There is no need to ever lose one’s faith in God, to ever think of giving up on life and the world, or to fear the struggles in life. My parents were simple people, poor, with very little education, but they were people that even during adversity did not think only of themselves, but thought of others who were going through the same battles. They knew no stranger, but welcomed anyone who needed help and a place to stay. Our home was always open to strangers. Although there wasn’t always a lot of food in the house, they were more than eager to share what they had with a stranger.
My siblings and I learned many lessons over the years from them. One important lesson, is never to feel sorry for yourself, no matter what you are going through. Another is not to waste time blaming others, the country that you were born in, the conditions, destiny, lack of opportunity, and sometimes even God Himself. Instead, to see before you the challenge and, with courage, take it on with the intent of overcoming it and moving on. It is not any different than participating as an athlete in various Olympic events. Many of the Olympians must overcome fears, obstacles, physical and psychological concerns. Especially the Special Olympics or Para Olympics of young men and women with serious handicaps competing with each other! They will never allow their handicap to define them nor to prevent them from reaching their dreams.
Be courageous and determined not to allow life to crush your spirit. Our All-Loving Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has given each of us the necessary means, gifts, talents, wisdom, intelligence, and strength to work out our problems and to one day attain what today may seem to us as unattainable.
An example of this is how my family and I came to America. In order to emigrate to the U.S. at that time, one needed to have a person, usually, a relative, who was an American citizen and willing to take the responsibility of taking care of you when you came into the country by becoming your sponsor. Our most Merciful God found a sponsor for my oldest sister and brother. The sponsor was not our relative, but a friend of the family and a fellow from our town. He was not obligated in any way to help us, but he did. My sister and brother came to Chicago in 1950 and the rest of us arrived in 1955. Why am I saying all this to you? To prove to you that what seems impossible to you is possible with God.
My father and mother were people of prayer. Their prayer was founded on genuine faith in God and they trusted Him to guide them on what to do. They were humble and obedient to His will. We must not only trust in God, but also be patient no matter how long it takes. Before we make any decision, we need to always turn to prayer and supplicate our Lord truthfully and meekly. "I desire, therefore, that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting" (1 Timothy 3:8). Sincere prayer must be united with quiet and godly behavior. Prayer should not be reduced to empty words and demands. The genuine prayer must be founded on A LIVING FAITH, obedience, abiding in God’s commandments, virtuous life, and humility. God is not the owner of a grocery store where we, as shoppers, walk-in and selectively buy what we want and then leave the store without any regard for the proprietor. The only time we step into the store IS ONLY when we need something. It is wrong for us to pray ONLY AT TIMES OF NEED, DISTRESS, HUNGER, THIRST, etc. Therefore, don’t be surprised when your supplication is not answered. We offend the Lord when we turn to Him with this disrespectful attitude. It reveals how spiritually immature we are and how we have missed the mark when it comes to Him.
Any real relationship must be based on mutual respect, commitment, and unconditional love. Our relationship with our Creator should be a relationship that should lest not only for this transient life, but for all eternity. Relationships that are shallow and selfish never last for very long, whether they are that of friendship or marriage. Relationships must be built upon strong and solid foundations. It is different with the Almighty God Who knows us inside out. We cannot fool or deceive Him of who we are, of how we truly feel, how truthful we are, and what our long term plans are. He absolutely knows if we believe in Him and if we truly love Him. People don’t have this capability to know in a relationship if the other person in their lives is sincere or not. This is why in any relationship with another person, we feel betrayed when the one whom we trusted proves to be untrustworthy. We see this kind of betrayal in the life of our Savior when Judas Iscariot betrayed Him with a kiss. There is no doubt that it is a very painful experience for the one betrayed. However, a good Christian must forgive him or her and pray for his/her salvation.
Therefore, my beloved friends, "GO FORTH AND NEVER FEAR!"