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This room is for general discussion that doesn't specifically fit into one of the other CatholicMatch rooms. Topics should not be overly serious as this is to be more of a "cafe setting."

Saint Peter's Square was created so that more people could be in the presence of the Pope and was named after Saint Peter, one of Jesus's apostles.
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Father John Powell, a professor at Loyola University in Chicago, writes about a student in his Theology of Faith class named Tommy:

Some twelve years ago, I stood watching my university students file into the classroom for our first session in the Theology of Faith. That was the day I first saw Tommy. He was combing his long flaxen hair, which hung six inches below his shoulders. It was the first time I had ever seen a boy with hair that long.
I guess it was just coming into fashion then. I know in my mind that it isn't what's on your head but what's in it that counts; but on that day, I was unprepared and my emotions flipped. I immediately filed Tommy under "S" for strange... Very strange.
Tommy turned out to be the "atheist in residence" in my Theology of Faith course. He constantly objected to, smirked at,
or whined about the possibility of an unconditionally loving Father/God.
We lived with each other in relative peace for one semester, although I admit he was for me at times a serious pain in the back pew.

When he came up at the end of the course to turn in his final exam, he asked in a cynical tone, "Do you think I'll ever find God?" I decided instantly on a little shock therapy. "No!" I said very emphatically.
"Why not," he responded, "I thought that was the product you were pushing."

I let him get five steps from the classroom door and then I called out, "Tommy!
I don't think you'll ever find Him, but I am absolutely certain that He will find you!"
He shrugged a little and left my class and my life.

I felt slightly disappointed at the thought that he had missed my clever line --
He will find you! At least I thought it was clever.

Later I heard that Tommy had graduated, and I was duly grateful. Then a sad report came. I heard that Tommy had terminal cancer. Before I could search him out,
he came to see me.

When he walked into my office, his body was very badly wasted and the long hair had all fallen out as a result of chemotherapy. But his eyes were bright
and his voice was firm, for the first time,
I believe.

"Tommy, I've thought about you so often;
I hear you are sick," I blurted out.
"Oh, yes, very sick. I have cancer in both lungs. It's a matter of weeks."
"Can you talk about it, Tom?" I asked.
"Sure, what would you like to know?"
he replied.
"What's it like to be only twenty-four
and dying?
"Well, it could be worse."
"Like what?”
"Well, like being fifty and having no values or ideals, like being fifty and thinking that booze, seducing women, and making money are the real biggies in life.”

I began to look through my mental file cabinet under "S" where I had filed Tommy as strange. (It seems as though everybody
I try to reject by classification, God sends back into my life to educate me.)

"But what I really came to see you about," Tom said, "is something you said to me on the last day of class." (He remembered!)
He continued, "I asked you if you thought
I would ever find God and you said, 'No!' which surprised me. Then you said,
'But He will find you.’ I thought about that
a lot, even though my search for God was hardly intense at that time. (My clever line. He thought about that a lot!) "But when the doctors removed a lump from my groin and told me that it was malignant, that's when
I got serious about locating God. And when the malignancy spread into my vital organs, I really began banging bloody fists against the bronze doors of heaven. But God did not come out. In fact, nothing happened. Did you ever try anything for a long time with great effort and with no success?
You get psychologically glutted, fed up
with trying. And then you quit."

"Well, one day I woke up, and instead of throwing a few more futile appeals over that high brick wall to a God who may be or may not be there, I just quit. I decided that
I didn't really care about God, about an afterlife, or anything like that. I decided to spend what time I had left doing something more profitable. I thought about you and your class and I remembered something else you had said: 'The essential sadness
is to go through life without loving.’ But it would be almost equally sad to go through life and leave this world without ever telling those you loved that you had loved them."

"So, I began with the hardest one, my Dad. He was reading the newspaper when I approached him.
"Dad."
"Yes, what?" he asked without lowering
the newspaper..
"Dad, I would like to talk with you."
"Well, talk.”
"I mean. It's really important."
The newspaper came down three slow inches. "What is it?"
"Dad, I love you, I just wanted you to know that." Tom smiled at me and said it with obvious satisfaction, as though he felt a warm and secret joy flowing inside of him. "The newspaper fluttered to the floor.
Then my father did two things I could never remember him ever doing before. He cried and he hugged me. We talked all night, even though he had to go to work the next morning. It felt so good to be close to my father, to see his tears, to feel his hug, to hear him say that he loved me."

"It was easier with my mother and little brother. They cried with me, too, and we hugged each other, and started saying real nice things to each other. We shared the things we had been keeping secret for so many years. I was only sorry about one thing --- that I had waited so long."

"Here I was, just beginning to open up to all the people I had actually been close to. Then, one day I turned around and God was there. He didn't come to me when I pleaded with Him. I guess I was like an animal trainer holding out a hoop, 'C'mon, jump through. C'mon, I'll give you three days, three weeks.' Apparently God does things in His own way and at His own hour. But the important thing is that He was there.
He found me! You were right. He found me even after I stopped looking for Him."

"Tommy," I practically gasped, "I think you are saying something very important and much more universal than you realize.
To me, at least, you are saying that the surest way to find God is not to make Him
a private possession, a problem solver,
or an instant consolation in time of need, but rather by opening to love. You know, the Apostle John said that. He said: 'God
is love, and anyone who lives in love is living with God and God is living in him.' "

"Tom, could I ask you a favor? You know, when I had you in class you were a real pain. But (laughingly) you can make it all
up to me now. Would you come into my present Theology of Faith course and tell them what you have just told me? If I told them the same thing it wouldn't be half as effective as if you were to tell it.”


"Oooh.. I was ready for you, but I don't know if I'm ready for your class."
"Tom, think about it. If and when you are ready, give me a call."

In a few days Tom called, said he was ready for the class, that he wanted to do that for God and for me..
So we scheduled a date. However, he never made it. He had another appointment, far more important than the one with me and my class. Of course, his life was not really ended by his death, only changed. He made the great step from faith into vision. He found a life far more beautiful than the eye of man has ever seen or the ear of man has ever heard or the mind of man has ever imagined.


Before he died, we talked one last time.
"I'm not going to make it to your class,"
he said.
"I know, Tom."
"Will you tell them for me?
Will you...tell the whole world for me?"
"I will, Tom. I'll tell them. I'll do my best."

So, to all of you who have been kind enough to read this simple story about God's love, thank you for listening.
And to you, Tommy, somewhere in the sunlit, verdant hills of heaven --- I told them, Tommy, as best I could.

If this story means anything to you,
please pass it on to a friend or two.

It is a true story and is not enhanced
for publicity purposes.

With thanks, Rev. John Powell, Professor,
Loyola University, Chicago

Take the chance, do it today before the person is no longer there to say I love you. For God is love and those who are begotten by God is love - We are not to keep God's love between us and Him but to share it to others so that they can experience God's love in a human form through you.

Jan 26th 2013 new

Mary, thank you. From the very bottom of my heart and soul.

Jan 26th 2013 new

Mary,


Nice post. Back in the Eighties, I would make annual Jesuit retreats at a now closed retreat house in So. Calif. and they played Fr. Powell's tapes while we ate. Your post was one of the mealtime lectures we listened to. I bought some of his books and read them years ago, on of which was "Why Am I Afraid To Love." He wrote some great stuff and I hope people will get the chance to read his works.

Jan 26th 2013 new

(Quote) Mary-25961 said: Father John Powell, a professor at Loyola University in Chicago, wr...
(Quote) Mary-25961 said: Father John Powell, a professor at Loyola University in Chicago, writes about a student in his Theology of Faith class named Tommy:

Some twelve years ago, I stood watching my university students file into the classroom for our first session in the Theology of Faith. That was the day I first saw Tommy. He was combing his long flaxen hair, which hung six inches below his shoulders. It was the first time I had ever seen a boy with hair that long.
I guess it was just coming into fashion then. I know in my mind that it isn't what's on your head but what's in it that counts; but on that day, I was unprepared and my emotions flipped. I immediately filed Tommy under "S" for strange... Very strange.
Tommy turned out to be the "atheist in residence" in my Theology of Faith course. He constantly objected to, smirked at,
or whined about the possibility of an unconditionally loving Father/God.
We lived with each other in relative peace for one semester, although I admit he was for me at times a serious pain in the back pew.

When he came up at the end of the course to turn in his final exam, he asked in a cynical tone, "Do you think I'll ever find God?" I decided instantly on a little shock therapy. "No!" I said very emphatically.
"Why not," he responded, "I thought that was the product you were pushing."

I let him get five steps from the classroom door and then I called out, "Tommy!
I don't think you'll ever find Him, but I am absolutely certain that He will find you!"
He shrugged a little and left my class and my life.

I felt slightly disappointed at the thought that he had missed my clever line --
He will find you! At least I thought it was clever.

Later I heard that Tommy had graduated, and I was duly grateful. Then a sad report came. I heard that Tommy had terminal cancer. Before I could search him out,
he came to see me.

When he walked into my office, his body was very badly wasted and the long hair had all fallen out as a result of chemotherapy. But his eyes were bright
and his voice was firm, for the first time,
I believe.

"Tommy, I've thought about you so often;
I hear you are sick," I blurted out.
"Oh, yes, very sick. I have cancer in both lungs. It's a matter of weeks."
"Can you talk about it, Tom?" I asked.
"Sure, what would you like to know?"
he replied.
"What's it like to be only twenty-four
and dying?
"Well, it could be worse."
"Like what?”
"Well, like being fifty and having no values or ideals, like being fifty and thinking that booze, seducing women, and making money are the real biggies in life.”

I began to look through my mental file cabinet under "S" where I had filed Tommy as strange. (It seems as though everybody
I try to reject by classification, God sends back into my life to educate me.)

"But what I really came to see you about," Tom said, "is something you said to me on the last day of class." (He remembered!)
He continued, "I asked you if you thought
I would ever find God and you said, 'No!' which surprised me. Then you said,
'But He will find you.’ I thought about that
a lot, even though my search for God was hardly intense at that time. (My clever line. He thought about that a lot!) "But when the doctors removed a lump from my groin and told me that it was malignant, that's when
I got serious about locating God. And when the malignancy spread into my vital organs, I really began banging bloody fists against the bronze doors of heaven. But God did not come out. In fact, nothing happened. Did you ever try anything for a long time with great effort and with no success?
You get psychologically glutted, fed up
with trying. And then you quit."

"Well, one day I woke up, and instead of throwing a few more futile appeals over that high brick wall to a God who may be or may not be there, I just quit. I decided that
I didn't really care about God, about an afterlife, or anything like that. I decided to spend what time I had left doing something more profitable. I thought about you and your class and I remembered something else you had said: 'The essential sadness
is to go through life without loving.’ But it would be almost equally sad to go through life and leave this world without ever telling those you loved that you had loved them."

"So, I began with the hardest one, my Dad. He was reading the newspaper when I approached him.
"Dad."
"Yes, what?" he asked without lowering
the newspaper..
"Dad, I would like to talk with you."
"Well, talk.”
"I mean. It's really important."
The newspaper came down three slow inches. "What is it?"
"Dad, I love you, I just wanted you to know that." Tom smiled at me and said it with obvious satisfaction, as though he felt a warm and secret joy flowing inside of him. "The newspaper fluttered to the floor.
Then my father did two things I could never remember him ever doing before. He cried and he hugged me. We talked all night, even though he had to go to work the next morning. It felt so good to be close to my father, to see his tears, to feel his hug, to hear him say that he loved me."

"It was easier with my mother and little brother. They cried with me, too, and we hugged each other, and started saying real nice things to each other. We shared the things we had been keeping secret for so many years. I was only sorry about one thing --- that I had waited so long."

"Here I was, just beginning to open up to all the people I had actually been close to. Then, one day I turned around and God was there. He didn't come to me when I pleaded with Him. I guess I was like an animal trainer holding out a hoop, 'C'mon, jump through. C'mon, I'll give you three days, three weeks.' Apparently God does things in His own way and at His own hour. But the important thing is that He was there.
He found me! You were right. He found me even after I stopped looking for Him."

"Tommy," I practically gasped, "I think you are saying something very important and much more universal than you realize.
To me, at least, you are saying that the surest way to find God is not to make Him
a private possession, a problem solver,
or an instant consolation in time of need, but rather by opening to love. You know, the Apostle John said that. He said: 'God
is love, and anyone who lives in love is living with God and God is living in him.' "

"Tom, could I ask you a favor? You know, when I had you in class you were a real pain. But (laughingly) you can make it all
up to me now. Would you come into my present Theology of Faith course and tell them what you have just told me? If I told them the same thing it wouldn't be half as effective as if you were to tell it.”


"Oooh.. I was ready for you, but I don't know if I'm ready for your class."
"Tom, think about it. If and when you are ready, give me a call."

In a few days Tom called, said he was ready for the class, that he wanted to do that for God and for me..
So we scheduled a date. However, he never made it. He had another appointment, far more important than the one with me and my class. Of course, his life was not really ended by his death, only changed. He made the great step from faith into vision. He found a life far more beautiful than the eye of man has ever seen or the ear of man has ever heard or the mind of man has ever imagined.


Before he died, we talked one last time.
"I'm not going to make it to your class,"
he said.
"I know, Tom."
"Will you tell them for me?
Will you...tell the whole world for me?"
"I will, Tom. I'll tell them. I'll do my best."

So, to all of you who have been kind enough to read this simple story about God's love, thank you for listening.
And to you, Tommy, somewhere in the sunlit, verdant hills of heaven --- I told them, Tommy, as best I could.

If this story means anything to you,
please pass it on to a friend or two.

It is a true story and is not enhanced
for publicity purposes.

With thanks, Rev. John Powell, Professor,
Loyola University, Chicago

Take the chance, do it today before the person is no longer there to say I love you. For God is love and those who are begotten by God is love - We are not to keep God's love between us and Him but to share it to others so that they can experience God's love in a human form through you.

--hide--


wow what a beautiful testimony of finding God through loving others. Thank you Mary for posting this. What struck me is that the people I need to say " I love you too" are ones that do not love me back or that do not love me for some reason. Even in my own family.

Praying that we can say " I Love you" even to our enemies and those that do not love us...

Blessings dear Mary ...

Kathleen Praying rosary theheart hug

Jan 26th 2013 new

Thanks for that touching testimony and important message. rose theheart


heart

Jan 26th 2013 new

Mary, Thank you!!!!!!! THIS is sent from Heaven!

Jan 26th 2013 new
Mary thank you....I think telling people how much you care is so important!
Jan 26th 2013 new

Mary,

Thank you, this is so moving and beautiful I printed it off so that I can share it with family, friends and anyone else!

Jan 27th 2013 new

Thank you for sharing.

Jan 27th 2013 new

Wonderful. Thanks for sharing this gift.

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