Most of us living in Southwest Louisiana these days have much to be stressed and anxious about.  Alcohol sales, prescription medications and vaping shops are all on the increase and yet many still feel worried, frustrated, with a certain justification for anger, meanness, and irritability. We are reminded by the holy and patient lives of many of the saints we celebrate here on our campus that for those of us who believe, who are people of faith, it can be heaven all the way to heaven or hell all the way to hell. The choice is up to us.

I rather like the traditional story that comes to us from the peoples of ancient Japan in which a powerful samurai approached a peaceful monk in his monastery.  He ordered the monk in a booming voice, “Monk, teach me about heaven and hell.” The monk sized him up and looked him over and finally said, “Teach you about heaven and hell? I couldn’t teach you anything!  You’re filthy, you smell, your sword is rusty…you are a disgrace to the samurai!” Filled with rage, the warrior drew his sword and was readying to strike the monk down dead.  Quietly, the monk said, “That’s hell.”  The samurai was taken aback, stopping in his tracks.  Realizing that this little monk was willing even to sacrifice his life to teach him the meaning of hell, he slowly began lowering his sword and was filled with an overwhelming sense of peace. Whereupon the monk said softly, “That’s heaven.”

We follow in the footsteps of a crucified Christ, who on Calvary hung between two thieves, both having experienced the same walk of degradation, shame and suffering.  One hurled insult of disbelief and resentment at Jesus, dying in cruelty. The other sought a peace at the last with forgiveness in his heart.  It was the second one that day who entered paradise and discovered the meaning of heaven. Such is our challenge in these communal days of “less than perfect” surroundings and frequently inadequate situations. I find inspiration in the life of a saint of our times who certainly knew what it was like to find the peace of heaven in the midst of a hellish environment; namely St. Theresa of Calcutta who once wrote, “People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.  If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives.  Be kind anyway.  If you are honest, people may cheat you.  Be honest anyway.  If you find happiness, people may be jealous.  Be happy anyway.  The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow.  Do good anyway.  Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough.  Give your best anyway.  For you see, in the end, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway.”

St. Louis, King of France, pray for us!

 

For More Information About Counseling Services:

Fr. Whitney Miller, Ph.D., LPC, currently serves as Director of Diocesan Counseling Services with his office located here at St. Louis Catholic High School across the boardwalk from the Guidance Counseling offices for the school. He is available for counseling and spiritual direction for our students, faculty and families. For students to schedule an appointment with him, they simply have to obtain a consent form from the Guidance Counseling Office, have a parent or guardian complete the form, return it to the Guidance Department, who will then forward it to Fr. Whitney and an appointment will be scheduled. Faculty and families of St. Louis High students, can contact Fr. Whitney directly at 436-7275, ext. 231 or fatherwhitney@slchs.org.