Father Brendan’s Mid-Week Musings | OPINION, September 21, 2016

A COUPLE once requested of me that, if I was willing to perform their wedding in Sydney, they would fly me there and back, put me up in a very nice hotel, give me a chauffeur for the weekend, cover all my expenses over my weekend and even any extra holiday time spent in Sydney. Due to my desire to minister even to the filthy rich, I said “Just this once!”. 

The hotel room was incredible. The hotel’s bath towels were so fluffy that when leaving I could hardly close my suitcase! And that mini bar was pretty mini by the time I checked out. Don’t judge me; I’m used to travelling budget. The hotels I normally stay at are so cheap that the soap and shampoo are in pump dispensers bolted to the wall. Talk about no trust! I end up having to smuggle in two large empty containers and fill them up. I stayed at this motel once that was so cheap THEY stole MY bath towels! 

So I’m in Sydney for this expensive wedding, staying at this veritable palace and being spoilt rotten … well, rottener. Yet, on this seemingly perfect weekend, there were moments where I didn’t feel “fulfilled”.

At first I couldn’t work it out. Eventually it hit me while I was lounging on a deck chair by the pool, sipping champagne. Jesus once said that he himself  “did not come to be served but to serve”. He also taught that “there is more happiness in giving than in receiving”.

 On that day I was reminded that I was born to serve. Some people act like they were born to be served, and they are some of the most annoying people you will meet.

In a mysterious way, to serve is the meaning of life, both now and forever. In heaven, what will we do forever? Some philosophers say we will serve our Creator. It might not sound like much fun now, but in heaven, with us serving our Creator and our Creator serving us, it will be the ultimate experience of happiness.

When couples have come to me during a difficult time in their marriage for advice they’ll often say “He/she is selfish!”. They never seem to say “All he/she wants to do is serve me!”. When someone falls in love, all they want to do is serve their beloved and it’s driving them crazy with happiness.

Yes, look at the terrible consequences of not serving. How much fighting goes on in a family or workplace when even only one person is selfish? A good number of scholars claim that the angel called “Light-bringer” (Lucifer) became “the devil” when he somehow communicated to God “I will not serve”.

A reason we don’t love (even hate) serving is that we think “this is degrading” or “I’m not their dog”. 

However, look at how different we humans are to the rest of the animals when it comes to serving our species. We need our family and friends much more and much longer than any other animal. We rejoice more when our species born and we cry more when they die. Not because we are smarter or dumber but because we are more connected to each other than other animals are. Where does connection come? Service. Where does service come from? True service comes from love and the more we serve the more we love. We usually stop serving because we have stopped loving and we usually stop loving because we have stopped serving.

Sounds too positive? Then “try this at home”. For one week serve everyone around you as much as you can (within reason). For one whole week become Mr/Ms/Dr/Fr Service. Assess the results. You will be impressed. 

FATHER BRENDAN LEE, dailyadvertiser.com.au

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