January 20, 2019


So let’s “talk” about faith, hope and love. I have been in a few discussions lately about these gifts. I am grateful that I have been able to realize and appreciate all 3 in my life. But I believe that’s because I have had a strong, nurturing environment and history. I realize everyone is not so fortunate. We say “faith is a gift from God” but I personally believe everyone is born with a faith potential but if that potential is not nurtured and nourished within a family it can very easily never come to fruition. So if someone is brought up in a family with out religious affirmation and God is not present in conversation, then it is very rare that a person in that setting would become a person of faith. Obviously, I don’t speak only of Catholicism or Christianity. I include any faith tradition or belief in an entity that is beyond human, challenges us to be our best selves, and invites us to celebrate our beliefs in a faith community. True faith should transform our lives for the better. Our faith also evolves as we do. It needs to, if it is going to be vibrant.

I have always looked at hope as a choice but recently I’ve realized that some people because of their background may not have that choice. Some family history can be so tragic and traumatic that members of that family can be victims and suffer severe depression and anxiety. It has to be very difficult for someone in that situation to look at their limited possibilities and be a person of hope. Obviously, many wonderful people overcome events in their lives with therapy, counselling , and recovery programs . This is so evident in A.A. (Alcoholics Anonymous) when you can listen to very dysfunctional, abusive, and violent stories which are devastating to individuals and families. But through the intercession of a strong support group and the “grace of God” the tragic story is no longer playing the major role in a person’s life and he/she has not only been able to be “hope full” but can inspire hope in so many others who never believed they could recover.

I’ve spoken often about the gift of love which is a response to another’s presence in our lives. I believe we are all called to love but I know how difficult it must be to feel or experience that gift if it has been absent in your family. The question becomes is it possible for someone to express love in a selfless way if they haven’t been nurtured in a loving environment? There are so many areas of love that include emotion, intimacy, sexuality and respect. When I see unloving behavior or the incident, it’s very rarely an isolated incident it’s part of a larger narrative. Each of us is born and immediately affected by our environment (the 9 months prior to birth also deeply affects how we are formed). I realize if someone is raised in a hateful, violent, prejudiced home then they are more apt to be a hateful, violent, and prejudice person. To a person with that background, love may have a totally different meaning than in my life. St. Paul is quoted as saying “in the end there are three things that last, faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love”.

Some may say that’s up for debate.

Enjoy Life!

Father Coyne


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