by Parish Staff
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
May the Peace of the Risen Christ be with you!
October is Respect Life month. It is a time to reflect on the value of the life that God has given each one of us. After all, life is a gift from God. When a couple express their total commitment to each in the loving act of intercourse and are open to being co-creators with God and a child is conceived, a new life begins. From that very moment of our conception, God gave us life. The life that we now enjoy is the result of a loving relationship between a man and a woman and God. What a gift God gave our parents — a new life to share in God’s love.
It is so easy to become complacent with our relationship with the Lord, and as a result we stop challenging ourselves to grow. When this happens, we are actually spiritually dying. If I can compare it to the relationship between a husband and a wife: when a couple takes their relationship for granted, their love for each other also ceases to grow. Saying I do, is not just a once in a lifetime commitment. It is a daily commitment to each other. Each day is a day in which the husband falls more in love with his wife and the wife falls more in love with her husband. This is the only way to deepen your love for each! The day a couple stops loving each other more than they did the day before is a sad day. Remember that to make the sacrament of marriage truly come alive, the husband must give 100% of himself to his wife and the wife must give 100% to her husband. It is complete giving of one to the other.
The same is true in our relationship with God. The Trinity, three persons in the one God, gives us a goal to strive for. Each Person in the Trinity is equal in majesty. The love of God the Father for the Son produces the Holy Spirit. The three persons, each equal to the other, each giving 100%, are united in the One God. The Triune God invites us to have a unique relationship with God. However, as we live our daily lives, we can become complacent with our relationship and stop challenging ourselves to go deeper. When this happens, we usually are just giving God the minimum and not 100% of ourselves. It is so easy for us to take, for example, our relationship with Jesus for granted. When we find ourselves only turning towards Him when we are in trouble or in need, we are not giving 100% of ourselves. When, in our prayer life, we are doing all the talking or asking and not being quiet so He can speak to us in our hearts, we are not giving 100% of ourselves. Each day should be a day that we grow more in our love with our Lord.
Since we are members of the Body of Christ (the Christian community) by virtue of our Baptism, we should be there for each other. When we let our pride get in the way, we are not loving each other as God wants us to. When we are not living our faith and a brother or sister points this out to us, and we do not listen, we are not loving the Body of Christ 100%. It is a responsibility that God places on our shoulders to help each other love God more today than we did yesterday.
I have learned over the years that it takes a lot of work and many sacrifices to grow daily in our relationship with the Lord Jesus. Just when I begin to think that I have finally made it in relationship with Him, something happens to make that me realize that I still have work to do.
Personally I have found that spending time with Jesus present in the Blessed Sacrament allows me the opportunity to quiet my mind so I can listen as Jesus speak to me. This is not an easy task since my mind has a tendency to wander all over the place. Centering myself on Jesus is not a luxury, but is an important part of my relationship with the Lord. There are other things that I do that quiets my mind such as swimming and cooking. These help me stay focused. Another thing that I do that helps me grow in my personal relationship with the Lord is to have a close friend that keeps me in check. This has to be someone I trust and take to heart the advice he gives. For married couples, you spouse could be such a person, and in fact should be such a person!
Don’t take the Lord for granted. To do so often means that we put off entering daily in a deeper relationship with Him. I firmly believe that if one works each day at strengthening his/her relationship with the Lord, he/she will always be ready to meet Him whenever He comes. You know that the love that He shows us is to be taken to heart and then shared with others. The best way to judge our own relationship with the Lord is to see how we are serving the others members of the Body of Christ.
As we reflect, let us make sure that we are stepping stones and not stumbling blocks. The love that God has for us should be a source of light that we share with others. As a part of the Body of Christ we are called to be a positive influence on each other as we help others to walk on the path of life. Let us be supportive and a source on encouragement. When we throw stones at another by judging and slandering another because of our own selfishness, we play into the devil’s hand by being a stumbling block and a source of darkness.
Let us never forget that we came into this world as a result of the love that our parents had for each other and their love of God. We must respect life in every stage of development — from conception to death. As we strengthen our relationship with God, we cannot but help but grow in our relationship with each other. We respect life by respecting the life that God has given to another.
Let us help each other as we journey through life. Make the effort each day to love the Lord more than you did the day before.
Please pray daily for me and all our priests and seminarians.
I love you,