Mornings are important. Taking charge of the initial moments of the day is like activating subtle triggers that will eventually determine the mood for the whole day.
To promote their particular radio, the disc jockeys were inviting their listeners to tune in and “tell us the first words you spoke when you rolled out of bed. If you’re the third caller, you’ll win $106.” The radio was FM-106.
The contest became very popular… Many varied answers. A caller said, “Do I smell coffee burning?” A rather frustrated one, “Oh gosh, I am late again for work.” A funny one was… “Honey, did I put out the dog last night?” A muffled curse was heard in the background, and then a man was heard to say, “No, you didn’t.” It was a comical contest and drew a considerable audience. One morning, however, the third call was rather uncommon. “Good morning, this is FM-106. You’re on the air. What did you say when you rolled out of bed this morning?” A voice replied, “Do you really want to know my first words in the morning?” The lively DJ said, “Of course, sir! Tell us what you said.” The answer came fast, “Shema, Israel … Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” There was a moment of awkward silence. Then the radio announcer said, “Sorry, wrong number” and immediately slotted in a commercial! Reality however is this. Every morning the people of God start their day by reciting this Shema, Israel. Deuteronomy tells us, “Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Teach them to your children and talk about them when you lie down and when you rise.” In this simple way, the biblical man directs his mind and heart straight away to God.
This remembrance of God gives flavor to the whole day. Even the darkest of days. During the Holocaust, hundreds of thousands of Jews who were killed by the Nazis, were calling out the words of Shema, Israel just before they died. Love is not blind. Love is the only thing that sees. It is true that many times we may not able to identify His tenderness in this world! But if we are attentive we shall at least feel his pull, his tug! Love has a pull that every clean soul experiences.
When I was small, flying kites was very popular. Today it is much less. The story goes that a man was observing a young boy out in a field flying a kite. Noticing that there was something odd about the way the lad was standing and holding on to the string, he approaches the boy. When he was near, he realized that the boy was blind. He said, “Do you like flying kites?” The boy whispered, “I sure do.” This peaked the man’s curiosity and he asked, “How is that when you cannot see it?” The boy answered, “I may not be able to see it but I can feel it tugging!” The words of Saint Augustine always enfolded my heart. “By loving the unlovable, Lord, You made me lovable.”
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.