“See I Make All Things New”

“See I Make All Things New”

In this week’s Gospel, Jesus gives us a new commandment:  love one another.  As I have loved you, so also you should love one another. (cf John 13:34)  The commandment to love others is not really new.  In the Old Testament, God asked that we, “love our neighbors as ourselves” (Lev. 19:18).  However, Jesus has certainly stepped up the game, so to speak, to move us from loving someone else as much as we love ourselves to loving the other the way Jesus loves.  He is inviting us into a sacrificial love; one that always seeks the good of the other despite the cost to us. 

In reflecting on this statement of Jesus’, the Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “It is impossible to keep the Lord’s commandment by imitating the divine model from outside; there has to be a vital participation, coming from the depths of the heart, in the holiness and the mercy and the love of our God. Only the Spirit by whom we live can make “ours” the same mind that was in Christ Jesus. ” (2842)  In other words, we can’t keep this commandment by ourselves, by “watching” Jesus and then by our own efforts attempting to imitate him.  We can only love in this way by loving others from inside the heart of Jesus, by being incorporated into His life and love, and living and loving through and with Him. 

How can we do this?  In the second reading (Rev. 21:1-5), we have the image of the New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God.  The new heavens and the new earth, the Holy City are not something we create or can bring about.  They come to us from heaven, gifts from the hand of a loving God.  Gifts can only be received or refused.  As St. James reminds us, “Every good and perfect gift is from above.” (James 1:17)  God gives and we receive and in doing so, we begin to live more and more within him.  “In him we live and move and  have our being.” (Acts 17:28)  

It is important to note that even as we are more and more incorporated into His love and life, we do not cease to be ourselves.  We need not fear that in striving to be receptive and receive this love from God, that it will cost us the loss of our independence or our uniqueness. For the One sitting on the throne says, “Behold I make all things new.”  God is not making new things, but making all things new.  This is a work of renovation and the result of the work will be that we will be made whole, we will become as Matthew Kelly often says, “the best version of ourselves.”   

Allowing our work to be God’s work, opening ourselves up to be more and more receptive to His love and His grace not only allows us to participate in the renewing of the world but we become fully alive and fully ourselves in the process.  Who wouldn’t want that?!  

We’re here to help

Call us at (605) 716-5214 or fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch soon.

 

4 + 15 =

CHANCERY OFFICE

606 Cathedral Drive
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 343-3541

CHANCERY ANNEX AT TERRA SANCTA

2101 City Springs Rd Ste 200
Rapid City, SD 57702
(605) 716-5214

TERRA SANCTA RETREAT CENTER

2101 City Springs Rd, Ste 300
Rapid City , SD 57702
(605) 716-0925
stay@terrasancta.org

SAFE ENVIRONMENT

Click here to learn more

VICTIM ASSISTANCE COORDINATOR

Barbara Scherr (605) 209-3418
Memento Mori! *

Memento Mori! *

Memento Mori! *

“Remember you will die!*

Just after Terra Sancta Retreat Center opened, I was asked to be part of a committee charged with brainstorming ideas for events that could be held there.  As people talked, some members suggested a series of educational workshops that could be held 4, 5 or 6 years into the future.  Another member exclaimed, “I can’t think that far into the future.  I don’t even buy green bananas for fear I might not live long enough to eat them!”  We all chuckled at the time, and I was reminded of it again this past week when I had the opportunity to visit with Deacon Sass.  He shared with me that more and more he finds himself emphasizing in homilies and in conversations the importance of looking towards eternity, of re-focusing ourselves on what lies ahead and making decisions for today based on that long-term thinking.  

The line from the popular Michael W. Smith song “Above All” also ran through my mind with Good Friday so recently passed:  “He lived to die.”  Sometimes, I think we hear or read this line with the sense that if Jesus just lived to die, his time here on earth was somehow less worthwhile.  However, doesn’t it make more sense to think that because Jesus always had his eyes fixed on eternity, that each moment of his life in time took on a sense of the eternal and therefore becomes infinitely valuable? Not only did he, in some sense, bring eternity into time because he was fully God, but even in his humanity, he perfectly lived the virtue of doing all things with the eternal consequences in mind.  With clarity he could measure the worth of his actions in the light of eternity.  

As his disciples, we are invited to follow in His footsteps, not just gaining knowledge from Him, but imitating him in all ways.  In this Octave, when we celebrate the Risen Lord, let us imitate his vision, always looking towards our final destination–heaven –evaluating our choices today in light of eternity. 

The question I am challenged to ask is, “If I die tomorrow, will I regret the choices I made today?”

We’re here to help

Call us at (605) 716-5214 or fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch soon.

 

9 + 7 =

CHANCERY OFFICE

606 Cathedral Drive
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 343-3541

CHANCERY ANNEX AT TERRA SANCTA

2101 City Springs Rd Ste 200
Rapid City, SD 57702
(605) 716-5214

TERRA SANCTA RETREAT CENTER

2101 City Springs Rd, Ste 300
Rapid City , SD 57702
(605) 716-0925
stay@terrasancta.org

SAFE ENVIRONMENT

Click here to learn more

VICTIM ASSISTANCE COORDINATOR

Barbara Scherr
(605) 209-3418

The Joy of the Resurrection is Coming!

The Joy of the Resurrection is Coming!

“Even now return to me with your whole heart for I am gracious and merciful.”

Gospel Antiphon, Tuesday the 3rd Week of Lent

Often when I am teaching as a catechist, I find myself saying, “In Catholicism it is rarely either/or.  We are a both/and faith!”  I was reminded of one more example of this truth this morning during my commute into work.  Fr. Michel Mulloy and Andy Shaw were interviewing another priest on Real Presence Live about Laetare Sunday.  Laetare means Rejoice and so on this Sunday, a bit more than half way through the somber season of Lent, the Church invites us to rejoice.  One of the interviewers rightly commented that it seems incongruous to rejoice amidst the penances, the fasting and the focus on the suffering and death of our Savior that marks Lent.  And I get that, but I also think about the many instances in life when joy is intermingled with great difficulty, suffering or sadness.  Take for instance the loss of a loved one.  There is much sadness at this time, but often there is also joy and laughter as family members gather, share memories and reconnect.  I recently read an interesting article on Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome in which the author proposed that one of its causes was the loss of the camaraderie a soldier experiences in the midst of his or her military service.  In the midst of very difficult circumstances deep bonds are often formed between soldiers and this article proposed that the isolation and loss of that after service contributes to the syndrome.  This is another example of goodness amidst difficult circumstances.  So I think in one sense we can see our liturgical life simply reflecting the reality of the rest of life, that rejoicing in the midst of this serious, grave, and solemn season isn’t unique to Laetare Sunday. 

Perhaps too, the Church desires to remind us of the reason for our Lenten practices, namely that all we are doing and experiencing during Lent are ordered toward Easter.  Our fasting, almsgiving and prayer should be helping to free us from the bonds of sin that hold us, to empty us of those things in our lives which prevent us from fully experiencing God’s love and mercy, refocusing our minds and hearts on those things that are most important and expanding our hearts to more fully give and receive love.  All of these things bring us joy and are cause for rejoicing.  Mother Church, in her wisdom, gives us this Sunday both as an acknowledgment that we can already begin to feel the good fruits of our hard work and also an encouragement to keep going — to persevere.  All the hard work of Lent is worth it!  The joy of the resurrection is coming!  Let’s prepare well so that we can truly experience the grace and love poured out to us at Easter.   


The use of rose vestments on Laetere Sunday probably stems from an ancient papal tradition of blessing golden roses which would be sent to Catholic heads of state in Europe on the Fourth Sunday of Lent.
Photo by Providence Doucet on Unsplash

We’re here to help

Call us at (605) 716-5214 or fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch soon.

 

14 + 5 =

CHANCERY OFFICE

606 Cathedral Drive
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 343-3541

CHANCERY ANNEX AT TERRA SANCTA

2101 City Springs Rd Ste 200
Rapid City, SD 57702
(605) 716-5214

TERRA SANCTA RETREAT CENTER

2101 City Springs Rd, Ste 300
Rapid City , SD 57702
(605) 716-0925
stay@terrasancta.org

SAFE ENVIRONMENT

Click here to learn more

VICTIM ASSISTANCE COORDINATOR

Barbara Scherr (605) 209-3418

The Sacrifice of Being Welcoming

The Sacrifice of Being Welcoming

This Sunday we celebrate the feast of the Baptism of the Lord.  The Gospel reading recounts Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist in the Jordan.  After Jesus comes up out of the water, heaven was opened and a voice came from heaven announcing, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”  (cf. Luke 3:21-22)  Notice that God the Father did not say, “you are my ONLY beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” 

 The truth is that, we are all beloved children of God and despite our imperfections, He is well pleased with us.  And although, we might in some sense know that is true, I think that much of the time we don’t really believe it.  When Bishop Gruss first came to our Diocese, he often shared how he had been told his whole life, “Jesus loves you” but that he didn’t really know what that meant.  It wasn’t until he was struggling as an adult that he began praying every day, “Jesus, if you are real and you do love me, show me that love in a real and concrete way today.”  He says that prayer changed his life.  In fact, that prayer is the reason we have him as our Shepherd in the Diocese of Rapid City.  Bishop Gruss knew that Jesus loved him; he hadn’t experienced that love.

 Bishop Gruss’ example teaches us about the importance of prayer.  He did not experience the love of God in his own life until he began praying in a very deliberate, consistent and intentional way.  Prayer is essential.  That is why it is a central element in our Stewardship initiative under the pillar of Lively Faith. 

 This experience of God’s love comes directly to us from Him in prayer.  However, it comes to us through the actions of others as well.  Many years ago, I read a book by Dr. Ross Campbell called, “How to Really Love Your Child.”  As a psychiatrist, he had worked with hundreds of families who were struggling.  He said that he had never met a parent who said they didn’t love their child, but that he had worked with hundreds of kids who didn’t think their parents loved them.  Clearly, there was a disconnect — parents who loved their children but weren’t able to convey that love in a way the child received it. 

I am convinced this doesn’t just happen in the parent-child relationship.  It happens in other relationships in our lives and it happens to us as church communities, when we desire to share the Love of Christ with others but that message is not given in a way that others receive or experience the tender love of Jesus.  I believe the Holy Spirit has given us the gift of our stewardship initiative to assist us in bridging this gap. 

The pillar of Generous Hospitality and the concrete examples of how this is done in the characteristics, as well as the witness of so many inside and outside of our Diocese of how hospitality is lived out in concrete, real actions provides us with real and practical help in this area. 

I continue to be challenged to grow in my own hospitality.  I recently read the beautiful new apostolic exhortation by Bishop Olmsted on the family (http://www.catholicsun.org/2018/12/30/complete-my-joy-in-major-new-document-bishop-olmsted-urges-fathers-mothers-to-commit-their-families-to-a-deeper-relationship-with-christ/).  In it, he shares this quote from St. Teresa of Calcutta:

“And so less and less we are in touch with each other.  The world is lost for want of sweetness and kindness.  People are starving for love because everybody is in such a great rush.”

 

 

Generous Hospitality requires an attentiveness to the other.  One of the biggest obstacles in my own life to this attentiveness is my tendency to rush through the day.  Slowing down requires a sacrifice on my part; to sacrifice my time and attention and give it to another.  It also requires a certain sensitivity to how others are experiencing life. 

This was brought to my attention yesterday when I witnessed a friend reach out to a visitor from Colombia.  He offered to take our visitor fishing or hunting and I think his offer came from a genuine desire to make this man feel welcome here and a willingness to sacrifice time to give that gift.  I thought to myself, it is pretty easy to wish this man Buenos Días and go on with my day.  Both my friend’s example and Mother Teresa are challenging me to a greater hospitality. 

We’re here to help

Call us at (605) 716-5214 or fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch soon.

 

15 + 12 =

CHANCERY OFFICE

606 Cathedral Drive
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 343-3541

CHANCERY ANNEX AT TERRA SANCTA

2101 City Springs Rd Ste 200
Rapid City, SD 57702
(605) 716-5214

TERRA SANCTA RETREAT CENTER

2101 City Springs Rd, Ste 300
Rapid City , SD 57702
(605) 716-0925
stay@terrasancta.org

SAFE ENVIRONMENT

Click here to learn more

VICTIM ASSISTANCE COORDINATOR

Barbara Scherr (605) 209-3418

Bartimaeus the Steward

Bartimaeus the Steward

In response to my email of October 11th, I heard back from several of you who shared with me some of the ways your parish is paying attention to the small details in order to be more hospitable.  Thank you! 

Here are a couple:

  • Last year we did a hoe down chili cook-off in January. It was nice to have a bit of fun in January, seems like a blank space in the calendar. 
  • The biggest impact OLBH has had on welcoming families has been to stock the nursery with various sizes of diapers and wipes and pull ups for the times you forget or run out of something while here. It is very inexpensive – we bought four small diaper packages a year ago and are just now running out – but it makes parents feel welcome.
I am sure there are many ways parishioners around the Diocese are finding simple but meaningful ways to extend hospitality.  It is a joy to hear of some of them.

This past Friday I returned from a 12-day pilgrimage to the Holy Land.  The whole trip was filled with grace and blessings and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to go.  The pilgrimage was led by Fr. Jacques Phillippe and Sr. Magdalit Bolduc from the Community of the Beatitudes.  This morning I was thinking about something Fr. Phillippe said to us on the evening of our arrival.  He said that often times we believe that we really cannot change or be changed. “That is just the way I am”, we say to ourselves.  Fr. Phillippe said that attitude, although quite common among Christians, speaks of a lack of Christian hope.  We lack the virtue of hope in the power and work of God’s grace in our lives if we believe that we cannot change.

Both unconsciously and consciously I think we often live and act out of this belief, both in how we think about ourselves personally, but also about how we think about the institutions we are a part of, whether it be the workplace, school, or church.  We are dissatisfied and unhappy about the status quo, but feel a sense of hopelessness about it ever changing.  On the other hand, we also experience as Americans this almost blind belief that if something is new it must also be good and we relentlessly pursue the next best thing; in technology, in diets, in entertainment; in educational and parenting practices, in church programs. Interesting how we hold these seemingly contradictory extremes simultaneously in our daily lives; on the one hand thinking things will never change while at the same time, relentlessly searching for and trying new things, throwing out the old and moving from one new novelty to the next.  All the while remaining restless.

It is only in actively seeking Christian maturity and Christian hope that we can navigate between the tendency to move back and forth from these two extremes.  The mature disciple, like Mary, is open and docile to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and therefore, not rigid; but open to change.  At the same time, the mature disciple is rooted firmly in the stable rock of Faith; is growing in prudence and right judgment and so is not easily blown one direction and then another by quickly changing fads.

Both as individuals and as church communities, it is important to be watchful and attentive to staying within this balance.  On the one hand, we must hold firmly to the belief expressed in the Book of Revelation, “See I make all things new” (21:5), firmly rooting ourselves in Hope which frees us to be open to the promptings and guidance of the Holy Spirit.  At the same time, the heritage of the Church carries with it the wisdom of the ages and we must guard against absorbing a cultural disdain for anything “old” and a presumption that we are wiser than those who have gone before us.  As we talk about and discern how to move from “maintenance” to “mission” (p. i, Through Him, With Him and In Him), as we argue with one another about whether or not the church is changing too much or not enough, as we debate about this new program or that or about whether to abandon “programs” all together,  let us continue to encourage one another to do so always with fervent prayer and commitment to growth in virtue.

In this Sunday’s Gospel, Bartimaeus provides us with just such encouragement.  He cries out to the Lord with great faith and with great persistence – a model for prayer.  In a gesture of great detachment, he throws his cloak (his only security in his current state of life) to come to the Lord.  Honestly sharing his desire with the Lord, he is healed and “followed him on the way” – literally, “followed in His footsteps”.  Bartimaeus is a steward and a disciple, a man of fervent, persistent, and honest prayer who trusts completely in the Lord and follows in His footsteps.  Let us all strive to do likewise.

 

We’re here to help

Call us at (605) 716-5214 or fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch soon.

 

9 + 9 =

CHANCERY OFFICE

606 Cathedral Drive
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 343-3541

CHANCERY ANNEX AT TERRA SANCTA

2101 City Springs Rd Ste 200
Rapid City, SD 57702
(605) 716-5214

TERRA SANCTA RETREAT CENTER

2101 City Springs Rd, Ste 300
Rapid City , SD 57702
(605) 716-0925
stay@terrasancta.org

SAFE ENVIRONMENT

Click here to learn more

VICTIM ASSISTANCE COORDINATOR

Barbara Scherr (605) 209-3418