Letters from a Pastor to His People- November 22, 2020
I've always enjoyed the Solemnity of Christ the King, which we celebrate this weekend—the last weekend in Ordinary Time. But the feast took on greater significance for me on my 30-Day Retreat with the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola that I did this past July.
Ignatius begins the Second Week of the Exercises with a meditation titled, "The Call of the King." This profound meditation is like the ostinato of a symphony—a motif or melody that repeats throughout the entire piece. The graces and insights from the meditation with Jesus the King will repeat not only throughout the next three weeks of the Exercises, but throughout one's life.
Ignatius would have us, in our prayer, imagine a good, earthly king. No such king exists or has existed (in my opinion), so we have to use our imagination. Think of a perfect king/queen. One who has no ego, no ulterior motive, no selfishness about him/her. A king who does everything for your own good. You see this king and you see how good this king is that you want to be with him. You will do whatever the king asks you to do. You will follow him wherever he goes; eating what he eats on the mission, drinking what he drinks, sleeping when and where he sleeps, wearing what he wears and so forth.
And doing this is no sacrifice for you, but your joy and fulfillment.
It's a profound meditation because we realize that Christ the King is all we want in life. We don't want health, riches, a good reputation, etc. We want Jesus! As we pray and imagine, we see our heart consoled by Jesus. Our other attachments do not console us and pull us away from Christ, our heart's desire. Think of the rich young man who could not sell all he had to follow Jesus and instead "went away sad because he had many possessions" (Matthew 19:22). He has great wealth and still he's sad. He's sad because he is not able to be close to the King. His possessions hold him back.
It's so easy, in a way. We just need to let go of whatever holds us back from the King. Being Christ's subject and servant will be the joy and satisfaction we all desire in life. Let us recommit ourselves to him this weekend.
Thursday is the great American holiday...happy Thanksgiving! Welcome home college students and anyone visiting from out of town. We also welcome our seminarians who will be staying at the rectory for an extended break Those of you who are traveling, please be safe. We will have a special Thanksgiving Mass Thursday at 10am. There, of course, will be no 8:30am Mass that day. Thank God the Bears aren't playing that day so we don't have to ruin the holiday!
Though it is Thanksgiving week, we will still have our Monday Evening of Prayer, which includes Eucharistic Adoration in the church from 6-8pm, confessions from 6:30-7:30pm, and a talk by me on the Spiritual Exercises at 7:30pm.
We are in the process of making a new donor/memorial plaque for the back of the church, combining all the ones currently hanging into one. We will also recognize everyone who has donated to the new tabernacle, Mary statue, bells, ceiling and other recent projects in the church. If you would like to make a donation, please let me know! Thank you to those who have already donated. We couldn't have accomplished these projects without you.
Next Sunday, November 29th is the First Sunday of Advent. I know it seems crazy to be thinking about Christmas, but please see inside the bulletin details about the Christmas schedule. The Christmas Eve Masses will be 3pm, 5pm, and 8pm. The Christmas Day Masses will be 7:30am, 9:30am and 11am. The dispensation from Sunday Masses and holy days of obligation, given by the Archbishop to all Catholics in Chicago due to the pandemic, is and will still be in effect. But if you are comfortable and able to attend Mass, we'd still love to see you. Our ushers and cleaning crew have done an amazing job keeping the church sanitized and everyone socially-distanced.
Yours in Christ,