Letters From a Pastor to His People

  • 08 December 2019 | By

    Letters from a Pastor to His People- December 8, 2019

    Dear Parishioners,

    John the Baptist was a man who was anything but superficial.  He wasn't into appearances or externals. He lived in his Cousin's shadow his whole life, and it didn't bother him one bit.  John was a "no-nonsense" kinda guy.   If you're a person who struggles with appearances and 'keeping up with the Joneses', then perhaps you could think of praying with John.

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29 Sep

The Litany of Humility

In the crypt of Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome are the tombs of many popes, including the first and greatest pope himself.  There is one tomb, however, that is unique.  Just to the right of St. Peter is a marble sarcophagus with the name etched in: Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val.  Yes, cardinals are important, but why this cardinal, among all the thousands in the history of the Church, in this preeminent spot?  Because Cardinal Merry del Val possessed the preeminent virtue: humility.

Merry del Val was born of Spanish nobility and became a priest, seeking to serve and not be served.  For his reception after being named a bishop he hosted 200 poor and homeless people of Rome. In fact, he shunned parties and banquets throughout his career, instead going to the neighborhood of Trastevere to serve the poor and minister to the young people.  He was made Secretary of State at the incredibly young age of 38 by Pope Saint Pius X, who desired him for his greatest skill: humility.

With the virtue of humility, we understand that we do not have all the answers or the solutions to all life's challenges.  We let God do the work.  If we possess humility, we see ourselves as the last, which means, paradoxically, we will be the first. So, if you want to enjoy life to the fullest, another way of saying you are "the first," then pray for humility.  You could even recite the Litany of Humility, which was composed by, you guessed it, Merry Del Val.

22 Sep

Accept and Follow Christ

Here is a fictional story that illustrates the redemption:

A man was hiking and fell into a crevasse.  Deep in the pit, he noticed there were other trails and caverns that appeared to lead further into the earth.  Fearing to leave the light he could see above him, he remained and yelled out for help.  A banker walked by the crevasse and threw down money.  That did not help.  A doctor likewise passed by and dropped in some medicine, which did not help either.  Finally a man jumped down into the pit.  Seeing the helper was empty-handed, the hiker said to him, "Why did you do that? Now we're both stuck." The man replied, "We're not stuck. I know the way."

Nothing outside of Christ is capable of saving us.  Jesus ‘jumped into the pit’ with us.  That is, he became man, entered the human condition, and remains with us in the Eucharist.  Not only does this save us, it gives us comfort.

Let us continue the story:

The helper does not lift the man straight up out of the hole, but rather leads him deep into the earth down the trails.  There are times the fallen hiker doubts the path and suggests another route.  The helper patiently acquiesces to the hiker.  When they hit a dead end, the hiker hands control back to the helper, who reroutes them and ultimately leads them to the summit.  

It is to our advantage to accept and follow Christ. “Belief is one of the indispensable preliminary conditions of the realization of its object,” writes William James, the founder of modern psychology.  “Believe, and you shall be right, for you shall save yourself; doubt, and you shall again be right, for you shall perish.”

15 Sep

The Spirit of Christ Shall Rule!

When Theodore Roosevelt explored the Amazon River in 1913, he had as one of his crewmates Fr. John Zahm, a Catholic priest.  TR was actually good friends with Zahm, who was also a scientist and explorer himself.  Fr. Zahm was a priest from Notre Dame University.

08 Sep

"Potuit, decuit, ergo fecit"

In my 7th grade religion class over in the school the students often ask me "why" questions.  Why did God create the earth the way he did? Why seven and not eight sacraments? Why did he destroy the dinosaurs?

My response to them is the scholastic axiom, "Potuit, decuit, ergo fecit."  The quizzical stares fade to ones of disappointment when I offer the translation: "He could do it, he ought to have done it, therefore he did it."  

01 Sep

Skole!

In ancient Greek the word skôle, from which our English word ‘school’ is derived, meant leisure. There were buildings were skôle occurred and the primary activity of leisure was learning. Effort was required here, but ultimately joy and recreation was had.