August 31, 2014
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
How close is our relationship to Christ? Do I look forward to spending time with Him in prayer? Is my time of prayer fruitful, and does it draw me deeper into the mystery of God’s life and His plan for me? It would be hard to imagine that any of us wouldn’t want to grow in this, the most important relationship of our lives. Mark your calendars now for 7:00 pm on September 21, 22 and 23. Our mission director, Anne Costa, will be leading us deeper into the mystery of God’s loving presence, a presence that we seek in prayer. “Lord, teach us to pray.”
I can’t wait! While I did get to the Great Smokey Mountains for a few days this summer, which was beautiful, I haven’t slept in my tent since last year, and I love sleeping in the open air surrounded by the sounds of God’s creation. Join me, October 3-5, at the Mill Creek Campground in the Lancaster County Central Park for fresh air, beautiful sights and the playful and relaxed company of fellow members of our St. Mary’s family. It really is great! If you need equipment, let me know, and I’ll see what I can do. Can’t spare the time? Consider joining us for the Campfire Mass, Saturday night at 7:00 pm.
Who wants to suffer? Well, the Little Flower St. Thérèse of Lisieux did; she embraced it wholeheartedly! This beautiful saint, racked with pain from tuberculosis at the end of her short life of 24 years, said, “I have reached the point of not being able to suffer any more because all suffering is sweet to me.” Such is the mystical experience of those so united to the love and redemptive suffering of Christ.
In this weekend’s Gospel, Jesus invites, actually demands that if we want to follow Him, we must deny ourselves and take up our cross. But as St. Thérèse and countless canonized and uncanonized saints have discovered, from the apostles to the mother, father, grandparent or parishioner sitting beside us, such loving sacrifice and suffering is sweet when lived in an intimate bond with Jesus. This holiness is what we are all called to. At the Good Friday Commemoration of the Lord’s Passion every year we too embrace the Cross. This sacrificial love, willingly embraced, is the witness we give by which the world will know that we are His disciples.
As we celebrate the Mass, let us offer ourselves with Jesus’ offering of Himself to the Father. Let us be caught up in the selfless gift of love that is the very life of the Trinity. This is the New Covenant. Yes; it is here in this holy place of sacrifice that all things are made new in Him!
Catechism Question of the Week: What inspires a life of self-giving and is also considered the greatest social commandment? (see CCC 1889)
With family, friends and those you meet, please discuss the following Question of the Week: Jesus teaches the apostles how to address Church discipline; what does He mean when He says that the unrepentant is to be treated as a Gentile or a tax collector? (refer to CCC 1463)
In Christ’s Peace,