Column: Two simple ways to grow closer to God this month

Deacon Tony Zimmerman is the lead archdiocesan consultant for the office of marriage and family life.
Deacon Tony Zimmerman is the lead archdiocesan consultant for the office of marriage and family life.

by Deacon Tony Zimmerman

We have been invited to reflect on ten themes in preparation for the World Meeting of Families next September in Philadelphia (www.worldmeeting 2015.org).

The preparatory catechesis for this event, “Love Is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive,” is the source of these themes, which we are invited to explore. The first theme, “Created for Joy,” examines the need to look to Jesus who reveals who God is and who we are called to be as persons made in the image and likeness of God.

We were created for relationship: We need God and each other. We need somebody to love, and someone to love us. To be who we are created to be, we must give ourselves to our neighbors, “through a sincere gift of self.”

We all know how easy it is to be turned inward. Some days it is easy to be there for our spouse or our children. However, there are so many days when we are tired, overburdened and overwhelmed by life that being there for another is really challenging.

In the month of November, we are called to meditate on the life and the words of Our Lord Jesus. As I write this, I realize that for most of us our response is: I don’t have much time to pray or meditate. What must I do? I suggest two things.

We have all been invited by our archbishop to experience the Marian consecration to Jesus through Mary, using the book: “33 Days to Morning Glory.” This period of consecration begins Nov. 4 and ends on Dec. 8. Each day has a brief reading from the writings of a saint. We are invited to ponder in our hearts through the course of our day how our mother, Mary, will help us to turn our lives over to her son, Jesus, so that we may be a better spouse, parent or family member.

The second way is to read and ponder a short Gospel passage each day. In the way of Mary, we can hold and ponder the way in which Jesus was a sincere gift of self to others and us. He will teach us how to be a healing presence in our families and marriages. We will understand that he loves us, not because of our achievements, and despite our failures.

If we understand and experience that unconditional love in our hearts, it provides the grace that helps us to love those in our family in the same way. So simple: a short reading, held in your heart during the day to help you find the JOY for which you were created.

Why not try it?!

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