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One evening young King Solomon fell asleep, and he has a terrific dream. God came to him and asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” Solomon answered, “Give me all the skills and knowledge I need so I can fulfill my mission in life by leading the twelve tribes of Israel.” God really liked that answer. Let’s say I fall asleep tonight and God asks me what I want. I know what I am going to tell Him. It will be the same answer Solomon gave when God asked him. “God, give me everything I need to be a good priest. Put me on a path of teachers and give me strong examples so that I will gain the skills to be able to inspire people to live their lives and fulfill the mission that you gave them.”

If you fall asleep tonight and God asked you what you want. You know the answer. “Give me everything I need to be a good husband, a good parent. Give me all the skills I need to be able to help this company produce a product that will benefit the lives of others.

In the Gospel, a man sold everything he had for one pearl. If God asked you what he could give you? What is the one pearl that you are seeking in your life?

Not long after I came to Boston, I went to visit a priest friend of mine. He asked me how I was doing. I told him truthfully that there was a strong rainstorm and I discovered that I have a leak in the roof. Then I told him that everytime it rained, the basement flooded and I had to bail out the boiler room. And I asked him why the boiler always malfunctioned on Sunday morning when everyone would come to church. I had other problems but he interrupted me. He said, “By the way, I made a Zen garden. You have to check it out. Just follow this path in the woods and at the end of the path you will find it.” That night we had dinner together and he asked me “Did you see my Zen garden?” I said, “I did what you told me. I went out to the end of the path but I didn’t see a garden, I saw a sand trap. The kind you find at the golf course, and it had a rock in it.” “That is my Zen Garden.” He said, “Let me explain so you understand this. I have a regular garden with flowers and vegetables. When I go in my regular garden I see weeds and I have to pull them up. Then I go back and I see leave-hoppers eating the flowers, so I have to spray the plants. Then I return to my regular garden and my vegetables are gone because the animals are eating them so now I have to build a fence. Every time I go in my regular garden I am a man at war. I love my Zen garden because when I go there, I am a man of peace. The reason I have peace is because there is only one thing. When I first saw you today you were a man at war. Don’t forget to focus on your one thing and you will be a man of peace. Now I understand why the merchant sold everything for the one pearl.

Every Labor Day in September thousands of college students arrive and the city fills up with moving vans and U-Hauls. I was walking over to St. Cecilia to celebrate a Mass that weekend and I walked by one of those U-Hauls. I saw a sofa on the sidewalk with a young student sitting on it, waiting for his father to help him carry it into the apartment. He was hunched over with his head buried in his hands. If I could read his mind, I am sure he was thinking, “What did I get myself into… Why would I ever want to do this.” If looked up at the moment I was passing by and asked for my advice, I would have told him this: “I know you must be feeling homesick. You miss your friends, and you would like to be in your favorite pizza joint right now.  But here you are in a big city, where everything is different and you do not know anyone, and you have no old friends to console you. On to top of this you will be undertaking a huge challenge. You will have some of the best teachers in your field of study, and they will make big demands of you. You will work hard, have long hours, and feel intense pressure. They will hold you to expectations at levels you never knew before. And you will be tested. You will need to achieve excellence as you never have done before. You may be having doubts about all of this right now but I am telling you that you need to do this. Yes, the reason why you are here is because you have a mission in life and you are going to get the skills to fulfill that mission. People will be blessed because you will acquire skills and knowledge that will help you make a difference in the world. Your family will be blessed because you will be a person who will be helping others with your gifts that will grow from this experience. Your children will be blessed. The world will be a better place because you decided to leave your comfort zone and make a sacrifice that will benefit others.

If God comes to you tonight in a dream and asks you, “What do you want me to do for you.” There is only one answer. “Give me everything I need to be able to accomplish the mission you gave me to do.”

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