Thursday, April 20, 2017

Let The Little Children Come To Me

There were a ton of kids at Mass today. We had a guest priest, although he's a common guest. There was also a concelebrant from Oklahoma City. It seems we are reaping a harvest of joy, as though in payment for some sacrifice made, but long forgotten.

We often have the correct sense that, "we are unworthy servants; we have done what we were obligated to do." But we forget, "And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace," and "I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly."

To live the abundant life is to walk in the light of the Father's unchanging love. I suppose there is a time to be stern with children. But the abiding reality of our lives in Christ is that we are beloved children of the Father.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Stay With Us

I think we all have stereotypes about "church people." If I'm too holy, I'll be like that one freak-show. I'll bet he's never even seen a movie in the theater. I never thought I'd be one of those daily Mass freaks. [You definitely are one of those daily Mass freaks.--ed.]

Contrary to popular belief, you can't "get religion" like millennials "catch feelings" in the hook-up culture. It's not a disease. But what if life seems at once familiar and drab? You walk and talk with a friend to sort it out. You say, "I hoped for so much, and yet, here we are." He listens, and in such a way that it has felt good to get it out. He tells you that you're looking at it all wrong. As he offers a new way of seeing the exact same thing, you marvel that he speaks with passion and conviction. You feel inspired. It seems as though he's going away, like so many people who drop in for a spell, and are gone with the wind. "No, man! You can't leave just as you've changed my whole perspective! Stay, and share everything you have." He agrees, and just as he's giving thanks for the food and drink, you realize the friend is Jesus Christ. You're not sure exactly what happened or when, but the truth is plain. Nothing will be the same.

Some people might think you're weird. But another friend once said, "Get busy livin', or get busy dyin'," and you're pretty sure status quo had something to do with the dying. No turning back.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

And There Was Much Rejoicing

Father said he could hear the joy in our voices; I don't know. It seemed like many other days. On the other hand, it's a perfect day here in town, a fitting tribute and picture of Lent's end. The part of the liturgy that always gets me in these days is, "Overcome with paschal joy,..." I think all Catholics get this. There is a way of remembering that makes the things past present without denying that they have occurred. Surely that sanctified knowing is a fruit of the Eucharist, the ultimate example of the past made present.

I remember the start of Lent vividly. Try as we might to feel as though this Wednesday is no different than the Tuesday just concluded, we know. Even if you have nothing big planned for penance, even if you are bad at Lent, you will get the cross. Oddly enough, this is the surest sign of God's love for us.

But now, the weight is lifted. It's time to dance like David before the Ark.


Sunday, April 16, 2017

This Is The Night

There is nothing like the Easter Vigil. You must do it once in your life. Better yet, come into full communion with the Church, and you can do it every year. Last night and today marks 6 years for me.

When we ran through a practice, I felt all the excitement again, as though I would be received. I had walked alone to the Cathedral for the practice, knowing that my mom and sister would be received that night. I couldn't speak to pray, so I was simply thankful. Everyone has to grow into who they will be, but this is the place to be. This is the fount of mercy.

The students from the RCIA class expressed their thanks to me in particular, and it was very humbling. At the same time, I think back to when I was taught the faith; I only did what others did for me.

I'm a pretty emotional and passionate guy, so I have to be the one to say this: Love is not sentiment. To love another is to actively will what is best for him or her. Don't let people try to tell you that something less than the Truth is enough; it isn't, and it will never be.

The thing is, though, when you meet people at this part of the journey, they have had their fill of lies and wrong roads. They know. And so, we were just people talking about what we know. We're friends talking about a friend and a brother we know.

There is no program to fix the so-called, "crisis of catechesis." I met Jesus, and I walk with Him. I don't remember saying that many words to my family. But grace speaks a word that those with ears to hear can recognize. "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me."