Holiness is the theme this weekend. “Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy,” we hear in Leviticus (Lev 19:1). Paul next informs the Corinthians, “for the temple of God, which you are, is holy” (1 Cor 3:17). Finally, Jesus' instructions to “turn the other cheek”, and so forth, are some qualities that go into making a person holy. I've often said that if you are going to ask for one thing in prayer, ask for holiness. If we are holy, everything else will fall in place.
So what exactly is holiness? Many have written on the topic. In fact, when I come across a quote or a passage about holiness, I record it. Let me share one from the many I have. It is from Thomas Merton, taken out of New Seeds of Contemplation:
If, then, we want to seek some way of being holy, we must first of all renounce our own way and our own wisdom. We must "empty ourselves" as He did. We must &qu deny ourselves"' and in some sense make ourselves "nothing" in order that we may live not so much in ourselves as in Him. We must live by a power and a light that seem not to be there. We must live by the strength of an apparent emptiness that is always truly empty and yet never fails to support us at every moment. This is holiness.
None of this can be achieved by any effort of my own, by any striving of my own, by any competition with other men. It means leaving all the ways that men can follow or understand.
I who am without love cannot become love unless Love identifies me with Himself. But if He sends His own Love, Himself, to act and love in me and in all that I do, then I shall be transformed, I shall discover who I am and shall possess my true identity by losing myself in him.
And that is what is called sanctity.
Once again I will be present during the homily at all the Masses this weekend as we continue to focus on the Cardinal's Annual Catholic Appeal. We will hear from Cardinal Cupich and then conduct the in-pew pledge. As I mentioned last week, please know your contribution to the Archdiocese of Chicago is a contribution to a charitable organization. The Archdiocese uses funds from this appeal to support its various ministries, the predominant ministry being the support of Catholic education for schools in financially challenged areas of our city. Other ministries supported by this special collection are the ministries of care, SPRED, the Respect Life Office, and the education of deacons, seminarians, and lay leaders. The Archdiocese does so much more and I would encourage you to be generous as you have been in the past. Your contribution is a way for you to show love for your neighbor, which is why the 2017 Appeal this year is titled, Love Your Neighbor as Yourself.In the upcoming months we will be evaluating the capital projects mentioned in the To Teach Who Christ Is campaign. I would like to hear, via an online survey or some other method, what you feel are the needs around our parish, whether it be the back of the church, the elevator in the school, the courtyard, etc. The extra funds we raise from the Annual Catholic Appeal (above what we have been assessed by the Archdiocese) will supplement the TTWCI to fund these capital projects. The transition plan for our new school principal is well underway. I have asked Mr. Todd Steffen to chair our principal search committee. The search committee is composed of parishioners and school and parish staff members. The committee will be: Fr. James and Todd Steffen; Jeanne Anderson (parish), John Clesen, Patty Collins (school), Una Durkan, Janie Lidgus (school), Joan Lynch, Laura Lyons (school), Eileen Mitchell, Mike O'Connor, Anita Slaboch (school), Don Sonderman, and Dan Tully. There will be an opportunity for everyone else in the community to participate by offering their suggestions and recommendations via an online survey. Please continue to pray for us and for our school. Congratulations to our 7th grade boys basketball team on beating Queen of All Saints and winning the championship at Notre Dame high school last Monday! We're proud of you. Our 8th grade boys fought hard but lost in the championship game to St. Ed's. Congratulations, players and coaches, on successful seasons. We're entering into the season of St. Patrick's Day parties! What better way to kick off the season than the
St. Patrick's Day party here at St. Juliananext Saturday, February 25th. I will be there and hope to see you too...sláinte!
Yours in Christ,