The last two weeks I wrote about my experiences visiting Rome and Assisi. This week, I’m going to write about Greeley. Yes, Greeley, Colorado! Father Homero and I joined Bishop Golka and all the priests of the Diocese at our annual Spring Meeting in Greeley from May 2-5. We celebrated Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours together each day. We enjoyed meals together, as well as time for casual conversations.
We spent our first day reviewing our plans as priests of the Diocese to work together with our Bishop on more efficient communication, building fraternal relationships with each other, and deepening our spiritual life. It was a very good review of what you would most expect of us as priests! For our new Bishop, it was a great time to continue to get to know us.
While in Greeley, I came upon the following article: “Too often we present faith to young people as a kind of checklist — if you do this and you don’t do that, then you’ll be Catholic. That’s a kind of sterile faith that doesn’t work with this generation. We need to present the Catholic life as an invitation to conversion, a passionate engagement with the world and with God that can be a life-changing experience. Young people are seeking meaning, not a slate of things to do or avoid.” Wow! You might want to read that again! How do we really present the faith to our young people?
The second day we spent in small groups sharing our spiritual life and growth with each other. One of the best definitions of the spiritual life that I heard was this: “Spirituality is living peacefully with the tensions caused by what you believe.” Isn’t that true!
Our beliefs will necessarily cause tensions. How we live peacefully with them is the adventure of our spiritual life. For example, if “to love one another as Jesus loves me” is an important belief in my spiritual life, then what tensions will come from that? It’s painful! It calls for sacrifice! Some people don’t want me to love like that!
Now, how do I live peacefully with those tensions caused by what I believe? I spend time in prayer with the infinite mystery of love who is God. God is love --- loving me! I bring Him my fears and anxieties and see the possibilities that He can bring out of them. God removes my ego, purifies and perfects me little by little, in order to show me my true dignity as His beloved son.
Prayer is not about my performance, competition, or comparing myself with others but about living freely with these tensions. I pray in order to receive from God who I really am! Prayer is not industry but intimacy. Prayer is expressing, not impressing. God does not condemn but embraces me with love. Only His love saves me!
If we share this with our young people, imagine what can happen!
Great things come to Castle Rock out of Rome, Assisi, and - - Greeley!
Rev. Mark Zacker