Saturday, July 25, 2015
Happy 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time!
This week I encourage you to read and study the beautiful Gospel of John 6:1-15. Here we have the very beautiful story found in all of the Gospels of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes. I’d really like you to look at this beautiful Gospel story from a variety of angles. First the traditional site of this miracle is Tabgha. First of all use your search engine to see pictures of the site. One of the pictures that you will find is a picture of this beautiful mosaic
This beautiful mosaic showing the loaves and the fishes is one of the earliest images of Christianity that used to designate Christian churches. The image of the fish used to be used as an early Christian identification for burials as well. In fact as you travel throughout the Holy Land you can purchase different bowls, cups and postcard with this beautiful mosaic on it.
I would encourage you to read some Biblical Commentaries – widely available on the web – to look at the beautiful elements of this Gospel Story. Prayerfully look at each commentary. Is there a particular element that draws you to look at further. One of the elements for me is that Our Lord feeds us physically and spiritually each day when we receive Holy Communion. When we receive the Eucharist we receive the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. What a great gift that the Eucharist is. Our Lord, in his great love for us, still feeds us and cares for us. One of the elements for me that I reflect on is at the end where the people seeing a source of daily physical food – (bread and fish) want to make him “King” or provider of their daily physical food. He withdraws from them. The Ordo says it so well on its small commentary “The miracle performed by Elisha finds its perfect fulfillment in Jesus’ feeding of the five thousand. He opens his hands and satisfies our deepest needs. In him we form one body.”
Thursday, June 25, 2015
Best wishes Father Carlos on your new assignment! You will be greatly missed!
This weekend is our last weekend with Father Carlos as our Associate Pastor. Beginning on July 1, 2015 he has been named as the new Pastor of Saint Charles Borromeo Roman Catholic Church in Stratton, Colorado and as Pastor of Saint Catherine of Sienna Roman Catholic Church in Burlington, Colorado. In addition to those two parishes he will also oversee a Roman Catholic Cemetery and will also take care of several correctional facilities. While I am personally very happy that he has been named as the Pastor of these two parishes with a lot of responsibilities, I am personally very sad to see him move on. Words cannot adequately express my deep appreciation and gratitude for his assignment here for the last four years as well as his being my brother priest here. A few years ago I was so sick and Father Carlos went above and beyond to take care of not only me, but also take care of the parish.
We have traveled a lot by car together going to help hear confessions, or going to conferences or dinners. I very much appreciate Father Carlos’ very keen mind and the wisdom that he has when it comes to pastoral situations and decision making. I also very much appreciate Father Carlos’ great pastoral heart and his willingness to get in the car and go on pastoral emergencies at all hours of the day or night.
I personally ask each and every one of you to pray daily for Father Carlos as he makes this very important transition in his life and ministry. I know that he will do very well in this new assignment.
God Bless you Father Carlos!!! You will be greatly missed!
Sunday, June 7, 2015
The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ!
Today we as a Church celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. It is a great day to stop and prayerfully consider the rich Scripture and our Traditions with respect to the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. I would encourage each of you to prayerfully each day read from the Catechism of the Catholic Church – Article 3 (paragraphs 1322 through 1419.) For the next couple of weeks, I will purposely each day ,read a few of the paragraphs, prayerfully reflect on them, and along with them prayerfully read the Scripture references that are located on the bottom of the page. This always gives me a great yearly “retreat on the Eucharist.”
Our Eucharistic Theology is so very rich and abundant. This past Monday we celebrated the Memorial of Saint Justin, Martyr. I would encourage you to and see the basic lines of the order of the Eucharistic Celebration that we use today. Saint Justin, Martyr wrote his witness in the year 155. In it we have the gathering on Sunday, The readings of Scripture and the memoirs of the apostles, A presider of the Liturgy, a collection for the needy, a Eucharistic Prayer, the assembly acclaiming Amen, and the “Eucharisted” bread taken to those who are absent by the deacons. It is very clear from Saint Justin, Martyr’s words that only those who were baptized and believed in the Real Presence could receive the Eucharist, and assented by the acclamation Amen. Does this sound familiar to you?
I would encourage you to read the Catechism, study Saints like Justin, Martyr, read the pamphlet from the USCCB on the Real Presence and it would be a great time to watch Symbolon part two session two on the Eucharist. The login information is found in the bulletin. I also encourage you to take time to read Catholic Articles on Eucharistic Miracles. As I said at all of the Masses this weekend, I would encourage you to look at the Eucharist through the ‘eyes of four great young people.”
I would encourage you to look up Saint Tarcisius who was a 12 year old boy, entrusted with bringing the Eucharist to a person who could not be at Mass. Tarcisius was beaten and killed by a group that attacked him for not handing over what was in his hand. He died protecting the Eucharist.
I would encourage you to read the story of a 11year old Chinese girl who died protecting the Eucharist after the church was desecrated by militants. She had the great habit of taking time for a “holy hour” and received on the tongue each of the 32 desecrated hosts. On the last night after she received the last consecrated host, she bumped into something and the militant guards found her and beat her to death. She died protecting the Eucharist. Sadly, I can’t find a painting of her and of her heroic love for Jesus Christ. Hearing her story so changed the life of a young seminarian named Fulton Sheen that he decided to each day spend one hour before the Blessed Sacrament – a practice which he continued for the rest of his life.
The picture above is Angelo a 12 year old boy who suffered from Cancer for many years who loved the Eucharist. It gave him great strength to carry the very difficult cross of cancer for many years. He always asked me to say Mass for him, which was a great privilege.
The picture above is Gabriel, a 6 year old boy who suffered from bone cancer. Gabriel so longed for the day in which he would receive his Confirmation and First Holy Communion. Bishop Sheridan was so wonderful about being there for Gabriel’s special day. Look at Gabriel’s eyes- they are focused on the Real Presence of Jesus Christ – Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. May our eyes truly be focused on Jesus Christ!
What a great gift the Eucharist is to the life of Christ’s Church and to each of us!
In Christ, Fr. Brad
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Congratulations Father Carlos!
Bishop Sheridan has appointed Father Carlos Gallardo to be the Pastor of Saint Charles Borromeo Parish in Stratton, CO. and as Pastor to Saint Catherine Parish in Burlington, CO. Please join me in congratulating Father Carlos on this very important appointment.
I will personally miss working with Father Carlos on a day to day basis. Father Carlos has a very keen mind and has a great pastoral heart. I will miss tremendously his abundant generosity of service. He is tremendously generous with his time and talents. One example of this is that I had just driven Father Carlos home from a week long priest meeting, and just pulled into our parking lot when a call came for an infant baptism at Children’s hospital. Father Carlos immediately said that he would take that call and did so with such great grace and demeanor. When I was personally sick with gall bladder issues, Father Carlos covered many things for me with such great humility and generosity. I will personally miss working with him on a day to day basis. He is such a wonderfully talented, generous, thoughtful, kind, caring, smart, -and man of deep prayer and faith! Father, we wish you the best in your new assignment! You have made the last four years – the best years! His last weekend with us will be on June 27/28.
Please join me in praying for Father Carlos as he prepares to take on this new assignment!
Fr. Brad Noonan, VF
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
The Fifteenth of the Fifteen Diseases of the Vatican Curia
Well my Brothers and Sisters we have come to the end of our journey in looking at the Fifteenth of the Fifteen Diseases of the Vatican Curia. As I have said to you throughout the series, each of these diseases can not only be found in the Vatican Curia, but can be found amongst us. I am very grateful to our Holy Father Pope Francis for addressing this to the Vatican Curia and by extension allowing us to spiritually look at each of these fifteen diseases and reflect if they are in our own lives. If they are we need to turn to the Divine Healer Jesus Christ to root them out and restore us to health!
The Fifteenth of the Fifteen Diseases of the Vatican Curia – The Disease of Worldly Profit and exhibitionism.
“When the apostles turns his service into power, and his power into commodity to gain worldly profits, or even more powers. It is the disease of those people who relentlessly seek to increase their powers. To achieve that, they may defame, slander and discredit others, even on newspapers and magazines. Naturally this is in order to show off and exhibit their superiority to others. A disease that ‘badly hurts’ the Body because it leads people to justify the use of any means to fulfill their aim often in the name of transparency and justice.”
Unfortunately we have all seen this with Priests who find themselves in “positions of power” who then forget who they are, or where they have come from. Priests who, unfortunately who look at assignments as wanting to only be assigned to “plum parishes” or who suffer from “Scarlet fever – in other words aspire to be Bishops, Archbishops and Cardinals- and who do not care who they step on in the process, I admire very much a young priest who after completing a prestigious academic assignment in the Seminary came home to his diocese and was told by his Bishop that he was being assigned to a very small, very poor parish. Most of his friends truly expected this young priest to be assigned out to further studies. This young priest was not bitter, nor angry, and instead worked tirelessly in service for the people of his parish. That priest after that assignment ended eventually was sent on to further studies. That priest was Fulton Sheen noted speaker, author, televangelist.
Unfortunately we have seen this with Lay people who either in the parish, or in Lay Catholic Fraternal Orders, try to work themselves into “positions of influence or positions of power”, rather than into” positions of service and humility”. I always find it sad when I see Lay people who become “climbers” trying to get more power and influence, who ruthlessly gossip about others, put others dow and then callously throw down edicts as part of their new find “lay clericalism” No wonder people leave the church after witnessing such sad behavior. A good Bible Verse to prevent this is:
For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? (Matthew 16:26)
Thanks for taking time to walk through this deeply spiritual look at the Fifteen Diseases of the Vatican Curia and our own lives. You can find all of these on our webpage www.stfranciscr.org
On my blog.
Blessings, Fr. Brad
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
The Thirteenth of the 15th ailments of the Vatican Curia – The disease of accumulation!
This week we continue to deeply look at the 15 ailments of the Vatican Curia. As I have said before, it is easy for us to simply say that this is only a problem of the Vatican Curia – but the reality is that each of these can be a problem with each of us.
#13: The disease of accumulation.
The disease of accumulation occurs when the apostles seeks to fill an existential emptiness of heart by accumulating material goods, not out of necessity, but simply to feel secure…Accumulation only burdens and inexorably slows down our progress.”
Our Holy Father poses a very important question for all of us. “Are we as disciples of Christ seeking to fill an existential emptiness of heart by accumulating material goods, not out of necessity, but simply to feel secure?” I would like you to look around at your life and in your prayer answer that question directly to Jesus Christ. In my life I have met people who constantly buy more and more things out of an emptiness where they try to fill that void by buying more possessions. I have met people who always are trying to satiate a need with another purchase in an unending pursuit of finding material happiness. I was most happy as a religious order brother with no possessions completely dependent on a God who always provided, not always what I wanted, but what I truly needed for the day.
I have also encountered people who seek to fill an existential emptiness of heart and seeking to fill it by the use alcohol, drugs, and pornography. These never work as they only provide very short term relief, or a time away from the existential emptiness, which is always present. Augustine of Hippo found this in the way of his life until that great moment of conversion when he was able to say Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you.” Jesus Christ will fill that existential emptiness of your heart.
As disciples of Christ do not be afraid to talk to Jesus about any existential emptiness of your heart. When you die all of your accumulated possessions will not go with you, with most going to either greedy relatives, or to “friends” or to the trash dump. When Pope John Paul II died, all that he had was a rosary, a picture of his family and the stethoscope from his brother who died. Do we suffer from the disease of accumulation?
Thursday, April 16, 2015
May the peace of the Risen Lord be with you!
Having taken a break for both Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, I would like to continue to look at the 12th of the Fifteen Diseases of Roman Curia as described by Pope Francis. As I have said to you each time, while it is easy to point to the Vatican Curia and to think that this is only applicable to them, each of us can be afflicted with one or more of the Fifteen Diseases. May Christ the Divine Healer – heal us!
The Twelfth of the Fifteen Ailments of the Roman Curia – “The Disease of the Funeral Face.”
It is the disease of people who are ‘scowling and unfriendly and think that, in order to be serious, they must show a melancholic and strict face and treat others – especially those who they think are inferior – with rigidity, harshness and arrogance.’ In reality, adds the Pope, ‘theatrical strictness and sterile pessimism are often symptoms of fear and insecurity about themselves. The apostle must strive to be a polite, serene, enthusiastic and joyful person…’ Francis invites people to be full of humour and self irony. ‘How beneficial a healthy dose of humour can be!’
One of my favorite books to go back to is The wit and wisdom of Pope John XXIII. Pope John had a tremendous wit and a great sense of humor. So did Pope John Paul II who as a young seminarian used to mimic some of his seminary professors. Are we living a balanced life? Are we able to laugh and have a developed sense of humor? Do we take ourselves too seriously? One of the greatest Catholic Evangelists, Archbishop Fulton Sheen was a master at humor and self irony. Take time this week to listen to some of his talks!
Sunday, March 29, 2015
Palm Sunday 2015!
Today we celebrate Palm Sunday which marks the beginning of Holy Week. I would strongly encourage you not to treat Palm Sunday and Holy Week as any other “ordinary” week in your life. I would encourage you not to fill up this week with things that you “normally do,’ but spiritually focus on each of the events of Palm Sunday and Holy Week.
An old, now worn out book that I always go back to is “Characters of the Passion” written by Archbishop Fulton Sheen. In his book, Archbishop Sheen carefully looks at the characters of the Passion – Peter, Judas, Pilate, Herod, Claudia and Herodias, Barabbas and the thieves, and the Scars of Christ.
To give you one example from his book, Archbishop Sheen looks at the character and characteristics of Peter. He describes five stages that led to Peter’s fall. The are 1. Neglect of Prayer, 2. Substitution of action for prayer. 3. Lukewarmness. 4.The satisfaction of material wants, feelings and emotions. 5. Human Respect (when we deny our faith, or are ashamed of it under ridicule or scorn). I would encourage us all to do an examination of conscience this week on these five areas. Are we men and women of deep prayer, or do we neglect our prayer life? Do we act without taking time to pray? Are we lukewarm? Are we trying to satisfy ourselves with material wants, feelings and emotions – or does our soul yearn for you Lord and you alone? Have we denied our faith?
Archbishop Sheen then carefully points out the four graced steps that led Peter back. 1. Disillusionment. 2. Response to grace. 3. Amendment and 4 . Sorrow. Hopefully in our lives we experience God’s graces found in the midst of our own disillusionment with how far we have wondered from God. Hopefully we then respond to the gift of the grace from God, work towards amending our lives and truly express our deep sorrow for our sinfulness.
This is a quick summary of one of the Characters of the Passion described by Archbishop Fulton Sheen. Let us carefully reflect on how we follow Christ on this Palm Sunday and into Holy Week.
Monday, March 23, 2015
Fifth Sunday in Lent!
This Fifth Sunday of Lent is the last of the Three “Scrutiny Sundays.” It is a holy time in which we continue to deeply scrutinize our lives. This week we continue our journey with our Holy Father Pope Francis as we look at the 11th of the 15 ailments of the Roman Curia – The disease of indifference towards others. As I have reminded you each week – we should not just look at these ailments as something that simply affects others, but we need to deeply look at how these ailments are present in our own lives. Only when we admit that these are present in our own lives, and turn to Our Lord for healing –then our hearts will yearn for the Lord alone!
The 11th of the 15 Spiritual Ailments: “The disease of indifference towards others.”
“The disease of indifference towards others arises when each person only thinks about himself and loses the sincerity and warmth of personal relationships. When the most expert does not put his knowledge at the service of less expert colleagues: when out of jealousy, or cunning, one experiences joy in seeing another person fall instead of lifting him up or encouraging him.”
I would encourage you each day this week to take one word from the definition above and prayerfully meditate on the word.
Disease – do we feel dis –ease , uneasiness when around others – especially around those who we are not comfortable being with, those who we do not like, or not at ease with what to say or do in particular situations.
Indifferent – are we indifferent in our lives, or indifferent to the sufferings of those around us. Are we like Lazarus in the Gospel Story – indifferent to those begging at our door?
Self Centered – are we only considered with ourselves – who is number one in our lives?
Sincerity – Are we sincere? What does this word mean? (hint –“ without wax”)
Warm personal relationships – do we cultivate those warm personal relationships or are we alone, cold and bitter?
Do we delight in feeling joy at seeing someone else fall?
Encourage – do we encourage or discourage people? Read Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s story on the Cruets that were dropped and shattered?
Lot’s to think about as we carefully scrutinize our lives in this 5th Sunday in Lent and walk deeply into Holy Week.
Blessings, Fr. Brad
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
The Fourth Sunday in Lent!
The 10th of the 15 Ailments of the Vatican Curia.
As we continue our Lenten walk to greater holiness in our own lives and a deeper relationship with the Lord, we continue to look at the 15 ailments of the Vatican Curia that our Holy Father Pope Francis described. Again, we should not be so proud as to think that those ailments only apply to “them.”
The 10th of the 15 ailments of the Vatican Curia – “The sickness of deifying leaders.”
“The sickness of deifying leaders is typical of those who court their superiors, with the hope of receiving their benevolence. They are victims of careerism and opportunism, honoring people rather than God. They are people who experience service thinking only what they might obtain and not what they should give. They are mean, unhappy and inspired only by fatal selfishness.”
WOW! These words should give us plenty to think about over the next week. Have we ever been mean, unhappy and inspired only by our own fatal selfishness? Have we ever met people, or co-workers, or members of some fraternal organization who “pandered” to those in power, who courted their superiors with the hope of receiving their benevolence? Were we “sickened” or “fascinated” by observing this behavior? If we have been mean, unhappy, or selfish – go to Confession! If we are enamored by careerism, and have been opportunistic in the pursuit of things of this world and not of the things of Heavenly pursuits – go to Confession!
Only when we recognize our own sickness and have the humility to ask the Divine Healer – Jesus Christ for his healing touch, then our healing may begin!
Sunday, March 8, 2015
Third Sunday in Lent!
Today we celebrate the Third Sunday in Lent. We begin the “Scrutiny Sundays. It is not only a time for the RCIA Candidates and Catechumens to deeply scrutinize their lives prior to them coming in to the full sacramental life of the Church at Easter, or Divine Mercy Sunday – it is a time for each and every one of us to deeply scrutinize our own life!
This week I am going to ask you to continue our deep reflection on the 15 ailments of the Vatican Curia, as addressed to by Pope Francis. Again, it is easy to pretend that his words are only applicable to the Vatican Curia, but his words are also very much applicable to each and every one of us.
Number 9: Chatter, grumbling and gossip:
“This is a serious illness that begins simply, often just in the form of having a chat and takes people over, turning them into sowers of discord, like Satan, and in many cases cold-blooded murderers of the reputations of their colleagues and brethren. It is the sickness of the cowardly, who not having the courage to speak directly to the people involved, instead speak behind their backs.”
For our prayerful reflection this week, I would encourage you to cut out this reflection and post it on your refrigerator. Meditate each day on the words that you see there that are in bold.
Begins Simply: Oh how simply this starts, how seductively this starts. It begins by us simply “chatting” about something in the life of the church and then does it take the lives of people over.
Sowers of Discord – like Satan: How quick we are to sow the seeds of discord, in something that we are not happy about. Yet reflect about how those seeds of discord grow, choking out the good seed, overtaking fields, communities, organizations…And yet how we never realize that we have become “agents of Satan.” It is so easy for us to fall into the scam, or trap of the devil, with our own justification for our own misdeeds.
Cold blooded murderers of the reputations of their colleagues and brethren: Pretty strong language, and yet that is the reality of what we become when we gossip!
Cowardly: Again, pretty strong language, yet we are truly Cowards when we do not have the courage to speak directly to the people involved and instead speak behind the back.
As one who cares for your soul here’s my direction to you:
Don’t fall for the seduction or trap of gossip.
Stop being sowers of discord and agents of Satan.
Do not kill others and their reputations.
Stop being Cowards and speak to people face to face. Deal with issues and not personalities.
And if you have committed this sin and become an Agent of Satan – go to confession, repent, do penance and sin no more.
With great love, Fr. Brad
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
The Second Sunday in Lent!
This Second Sunday in Lent, we continue our journey of carefully, introspectively, looking at the 15 ailments of the Roman Curia. Again, while this was addressed by Pope Francis to the Roman Curia, we need to prayerfully and critically look at these 15 ailments in our own spiritual life and the life of our Parish, the Knights, or organizations that we belong to. So this week we look at the Eighth of the 15 ailments.
“Existential Schizophrenia” ‘The sickness of those who live a double life, fruit of hypocrisy typical of the mediocre and the progressive spiritual emptiness that cannot be filled by degrees or academic honours. This ailment particularly afflicts those who, abandoning pastoral service, limit themselves to bureaucratic matters, thus losing contact with reality and with real people. They create a parallel world of their own, where they set aside everything they teach with severity to others and live a hidden, often dissolute life.”
I think that we all need to look very carefully at our own life. Are we living a double life –“supposedly pius, holy people while in the Church Sanctuary”, but outside of the Church building “not Catholic in their actions”… Are our actions consonant with our faith? I always find it sad when I hear the “parking lot stories.” How this person who just received Holy Communion, uses swear words or gestures in our parking lot while exiting the parking lot. How this person is in the parking lot – gossiping about some parishioner – causing scandal to some other parishioner who overhears it walking by. I have seen it in priests who live a double life, trapped by the addictiveness of some addictive behavior. Remember that the priest who doesn’t pray – fails. Catholics who do not have a deep prayer life – will fail. It is only with a deep prayer life that we can withstand the empty times.
Lent is a time of deep introspection, a time of asking Almighty God to remove from all aspects of our life – anything that would cause us to give scandal, or cause us not to have our lives totally focused on the Lord. “My heart yearns for you and you alone” said Saint Augustine after his great conversion. May we experience such a deep conversion in our life!
Stay close to the Lord – Strive to be Saints!
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
The First Sunday in Lent!
Lent is a very holy and introspective time! It should be a time when we scrutinize all of our actions and all aspects of our life and work to conform ourselves more closely to the Lord. For the last six weeks we have been carefully looking at each of the Fifteen Spiritual Ailments of the Roman Curia. Those same ailments can (and are) found in each and every one of us if we are truly honest with ourselves. The Seventh of the 15 ailments of the Roman Curia and ourselves is:
The ailment of rivalry and vainglory.
This occurs when appearances, the colour of one’s robes, insignia and honours become the most important aim in life…it is the disorder that leads us to become false men and women, living a false ‘mysticism’ and a false ‘quietism.
This trap can certainly affect any of us. History is filled with stories of good, honest, hard working people who once a particular office is bestowed upon them, are given the particular privilege of wearing some special robe, or uniform insignia, be the recipient of some honour, sadly change for the worse. I have seen that with some of my brother priests who when bestowed on a particular office, or honour sadly change. We need to carefully look at our own life. Do we chase after honours to fill up some emptiness in our life, or because our own self esteem is so low? As leaders, is our aim to be servants–leaders and to wait to be last to have our needs met. I recently came across a quote from an old US Cavalry sign – The Horses eat first, the enlisted men eat second and the officers eat last. Or, is our motto “Rank has its privileges”.
May this holy Season of Lent bring us authentically closer to Christ!
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
The Sixth of the Spiritual Ailments: “The disease of spiritual Alzheimer’s”
The Sixth of the Spiritual Ailments of the Roman Curia – which also very much applies to us in our own lives and in the life of our parish!
“The disease of spiritual Alzheimer’s” Our Holy Father used these words to describe this. “That is a progressive decline of ‘spiritual faculties’ which causes ‘severe disadvantages to people, ‘making them live in a ‘state of absolute dependence on their, often imagined, views’ We can see this in those who have ‘lost their memory of their encounter with the Lord,’ in those who depend on their ‘passions, whims and obsessions.’”
It is a rather forgetfulness of the history of Salvation, of their personal history with the Lord, of the ‘first love’: We see this in those who build walls around themselves and who increasingly transform into slaves to the idols they have sculpted with their own hands”
I would invite us all this week to reflect on this deeply and to see if there are things that we have forgotten. Have we become so hardened by the trials of this life that we have forgotten the faithful presence of the Lord in our life? Has life become so routine and monotonous that we have forgotten the first feelings of deep love that we have for our Lord? Have we forgotten our roots? Sometimes in the life of those who go through RCIA there is such great feelings of love and a passion (or thirst) for the faith that somehow over time diminishes or disappears. Have we forgotten where we have come from? In parishes sometimes they have lost those core values that were important to them and sadly drift into something called “maintenance” [maintaining current structures, ways of doing things]and away from “mission.”
Many years ago when I worked for the Coca Cola Bottling Company to pay for my college, I was employed for two weeks when I was called into the Plant Manager’s office. I went up there with great apprehension as I thought that I must have done something terribly wrong. The Plant Manager, John Heinrichs, invite me in, and said that it was important for him to hear from the newest employees what they were seeing in terms of the operation of the plant. It was a great lesson for me. We can be so caught up in our world that we do not see the “forest’ for the “trees.”
I would encourage us to reflect on the call that God has for each of us individually and to rediscover that call if it has gone lost. I would encourage us to look deeply into not only our own lives, but the life of our parish to see how we are doing. If there is a progressive decline in our spiritual faculty to pray and be in love with the Lord, may there be a rapid re-awakening of this in our life.
The Fifth of the Fifteen Diseases: “The Disease of bad coordination”
This week we continue deepening our walk with Jesus Christ by looking at the Fifth and sixth of the Fifteen Diseases of the Roman Curia. As I have said each week, while it is easy for us to just say that our Holy Father was referring to the Roman Curia, these same diseases can certainly be present in our own life, the life or our parish, of fraternal organizations such as the Knights, or to the relationship of priests and deacons working with their Bishop in Dioceses (or lack thereof).
The Fifth of the Fifteen Diseases is “The Disease of bad coordination.”
It is the disease of members who ‘lose the community among them, and the Body loses its harmonious functionality’ becoming ‘an orchestra producing undisciplined noise because it’s members do not cooperate and do not live communally and do not have team spirit.” [another translation says that the sickness of poor communication develops when the communion between members is lost and the body loses its harmonious functionality and temperance, becoming an orchestra of cacophony… Cacophony means a harsh, discordant mixture of sounds, “a cacophony of deafening alarm bells.”]
As I reflected on this- I thought of the scene from the movie Sister Act where Sister Mary Clarence is named the new Choir Mistress. She carefully rearranges them after carefully observing them and then has them sing a chord. They did a great job singing in harmony that chord. After which Sister Mary Patrick says “ We did it! We actually san a chord!” Sister Mary Clarence then says “Yeah. You sang a chord for two seconds. The next thing that you have to do is listen to each other. That’s a big key. Big key. You must listen to each other if you’re going to be a group.”
This week read 1 Corinthians 12:4-31. How are we as members part of the one body of Christ? Are we part of the Body of Christ working together with all of the other members of the Body of Christ, or are we strictly on our own. How well are we communicating and coordinating with each other – as husband and wife – as a parishioner in a parish – within and between parish organizations and staffs – between priests, deacons and laity? Are there areas for improvement? If yes, what are they? Are we listening to each other?
Enjoy this deepening of our walk with Jesus Christ!