Unless you visited my former parish of Saint Patrick in Colorado Springs, you probably never met Carla Neal. For the past 13 years, Carla served faithfully as the Parish Receptionist there at St. Pat’s. I hired her many years ago to fill this very important position. To be a receptionist in a Catholic Church takes a lot of skillsets. One is to be able to multi-task. One is to be able to be Christ like to all who come into the office, regardless of whether they were Christ like to you. One is to be able to kindly answer the phone and have an incredible listening presence. There as so many other things that this important position demands. Finally, one should have the heart of Christ and a prayerful spirit. (By the way we are truly blessed to have Margaret and Andrea here at this very vibrant parish who fulfill what was just mentioned.)
At the age of 60 Carla had certainly gone through a lot in life. She did have a rich prayer life and a depth of faith that certainly got her through a lot. Sadly her daughter who was pregnant with child was shot and killed and the baby unfortunately died. The gift of Carla was that she was able to allow others to walk with her through those very difficult times and in the years following, especially as the trial and conviction happened.
Carla certainly had the heart of Christ when it came to those visiting the office and would take time to know the name of the person requesting assistance and to find out about their story in an authentic way. She also would also offer to begin to pray for someone and to add them to her prayer chain. She truly believed in the power of intercessory prayer.
Not wanting a lot of attention to herself, Carla in what turned out to the last week of her life, went to the ER as she was having breathing problems and following a diagnosis of both inoperable lung cancer and a throat tumor peacefully asked the doctor what was the next step. He said that there was nothing more to do and that he would refer her to inpatient hospice on the 4th floor of the hospital. Carla, being herself gathered her few possessions and walked upstairs and into the hospice. She died the next day surrounded by her family. Before taking her last breath, she told her family that she loved them, to take care of each other and that she was going home to God.
What impressed me was that every day, she specifically prayed for the grace of a happy death. She certainly received that particular grace. I would encourage you to pray each day for the grace of a happy death. In the work that she did for the last 13 years as a humble receptionist, Carla touched a lot of lives and deeply prayed for them. May we imitate her life of deep faith, deep prayer and deep care for others. May she rest in Peace. Amen.
During my homily on Labor day this morning, I spoke about a beautiful Encyclical written by Pope Leo XIII on “The Condition of Labor” in Latin called Rerum Novarum. Pope Leo in 1891 wrote about and defended principles for workers including; the inherent dignity of the worker, labor is not a commodity, the right to unionize, just wages, a shorter working day, the Sunday rest, the abolition of child labor, universal application of labor standards and factory inspection, among other principles.
During the homily I spoke of dynamic young priest who lived in those very same times, being born in 1852 and passing away in 1890 by the name of Father Michael J. McGivney. Father McGivney had a great heart, a great pastoral sense and walked very closely with his parishioners and those in need. I would encourage you on this labor day to watch this short Youtube video on his life. Father McGivney was the founder of the Knights of Columbus. Father McGivney was ahead of his time.
Enjoy this great video.
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
Congratulations to Father Carlos Gallardo and Father Jason Keas!
As you know I have been on the road for the past few Sundays! On Sunday August 23, I traveled to Saint Catherine Parish in Burlington, Colorado for the installation of Father Carlos Gallardo as the new Pastor of both Saint Catherine Parish and also Saint Charles Borromeo Parish in Stratton, Colorado. As you know Father Carlos was here at our Parish for over 4 years as our Parochial Vicar (associate pastor). It was a great experience watching Father Carlos being installed as Pastor and I know that he will do well there. Father Carlos was so helpful for me here at the parish and it was great to watch him grow. Please keep him in your daily prayers as it is an awesome responsibility to be the Pastor!
This past Sunday I traveled to Sacred Heart Parish in Cheyenne Wells, Colorado for the installation of Father Jason Keas as the new Pastor of both Sacred Heart parish and also Saint Augustine Parish in Kit Carson. We were blessed to have then Seminarian Jason here at the parish for two years and then to have him with us as a transitional deacon. I am very proud of Father Jason who up to recently was assigned as Parochial Vicar at St. Paul’s Parish in the Broadmoor. It was great having breakfast prior to the installation with his parents and family whom I have known for many years. Please keep Father Jason in your daily prayers as well.
Two Seminarians from our parish have returned to Saint Gregory the Great Seminary for further studies. Please pray for Seminarian Matt Kane and Seminarian Brandon Allen. Rev. Mr. Erin Kochivar and Rev. Mr. Sean McCann should be traveling back to Rome. Please continue to pray for all of our Seminarians.
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!
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?
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!