“Only for today” Let’s Live This Catholic Way of Life More Deeply

“Only for today” Let’s Live This Catholic Way of Life More Deeply

Grant O Lord, that we may begin with holy fasting this campaign of Christian service, so that, as we take up battle against spiritual evils, we may be armed with weapons of self-restraint.”

from the Collect for  Ash Wednesday

The Homilist at the Mass I attended on Ash Wednesday shared that it struck him that the Collect for the Mass talked about Lent as a campaign of Christian service.  His calling attention to this point caused me to reflect on this season of Lent and how it might be seen as a campaign of Christian Service through the lenses of our Stewardship Pillars.

Generous Hospitality: Invitation, Welcome, Fellowship.  This is perhaps the most obvious of the three.  The practices of Welcome and Invitation are acts of service to another.  For example, we offer others a warm welcome, we extend an invitation to them to participate in an activity at the parish or into a ministry.   Fellowship, the third aspect of Generous Hospitality, also has a strong element of service.  Someone is typically working hard to create the space for fellowship to happen.  Someone is cooking a meal or preparing a place for people to gather, etc. 

But I think we can take this one step further and perhaps should in the season of Lent.  A couple of weeks ago, I was visiting with Sr. Lorane, a Benedictine Sister at St. Martin’s Monastery.  She said,

“Benedictine hospitality has an element in it of giving of your heart to the other.  Also, when guests are welcomed into a Benedictine monastery, St. Benedict asked that they be welcomed into the life of prayer and work that is the religious life. They are invited to experience the monastic life.”

When we extend Generous Hospitality in our homes and in our churches, we are encouraged to have the same mind; to give something of ourselves to the one we are welcoming or inviting, a giving of our time, our full attention, our knowledge, a part of who we are and to know that we are welcoming them more fully into the life of the parish family. We want them to feel as if they belong.

Lively Faith: Prayer, Study, Formation.  Prayer as Christian service could mean that we take the needs of others to prayer.  To be more intentional about lifting others and their needs up to the Lord would be a good practice for Lent.  But I felt challenged to think about how often I pray with only my own needs and desires in mind.  I am challenged by the fact that prayer is the foundation of a relationship between two persons, myself and God.  How often is God the focus of my prayer?  How often is my prayer other-centered, rather than self-centered.  No relationship can be deemed a mature one if my only focus within the relationship is, “how is this person meeting my needs? What is this person doing for me?”  I am challenged to spend time in prayer this Lent with the mind just to be with Jesus, to spend time with Him, to love Him.  Study for its own sake and for our own spiritual growth is good, but perhaps this Lent we could explore ways to extend our learning to others, either by teaching or by inviting others to learn alongside us.  Formation involves the development of virtue in myself and others.  What virtue might I strengthen that would free me to be of service to others?

Dedicated Discipleship: Intentional Love of God and Neighbor.  Lent offers us a beautiful time to be more intentional, to not leave our charity to chance, but to make conscious decisions to express our love of God and others.  One resource I have found helpful in my own life is St. John XXIII’s Decalogue:

Only for today, let’s look for an opportunity to live This Catholic Way of Life more deeply. And tomorrow let’s do the same and so live well through this 40-day “campaign of Christian service” offered to us by the Church.

We’re here to help

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

 

8 + 11 =

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.

 

10 + 13 =

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

Live, don’t just breathe, the message of the Gospel!

Last week I was blessed to be part of the pilgrimage to Washington, DC for the March for Life 2017: The Power of One. It was an amazing five days, filled with so much hope and promise. I was especially inspired by being surrounded with so many high school and young adults so fired up about protecting the dignity of human life from conception to natural death. It seemed that the majority of those marching for life where youth and young adults with many of them carrying signs saying, “I Am the Pro-Life Generation.”

We had six high school kids and two young adults from our diocese that joined up with the Diocese of Sioux Falls, who had about 60 plus high school and young adults with them. The University of St. Mary’s, together with the Diocese in Bismarck took 11 buses with over 500 young people to participate in the March, and several of them were from our diocese, so the Diocese of Rapid City was well represented.

At the Thursday night youth rally before the March on Friday, Mark Hart, the Executive Director of Life Teen, gave the keynote addressing the mediocrity of our own lives. He said often we are simply breathing rather than truly living the message of the Gospel. When one truly begins to live the message of the gospel then we are willing to make sacrifices to lift up the sacredness of human life; especially those, like the unborn, who cannot defend themselves.

I was struck by the two freshmen boys who went with us: Liam Yantes and Isaac Rangel.  When Isaac and Liam heard on the evening before we were to leave that I-90 was closed because of weather and that we might not be able to get to Sioux Falls in time to meet up with the Sioux Falls bus, they decided to sleep on the floor rather than on their beds as a way to make a little sacrifice and offer it up in prayer to the Lord.

We decided to leave later on Wednesday morning hoping to make it to Sioux Falls in time to catch the buses for Washington DC. We ended up making it to Sioux Falls, partly I think because of the sacrifice that Liam and Isaac made the night before.  I found that many of our youth and young adults Marching for Life are willing to make little sacrifices to stand up and proclaim with great joy and great peace the sanctity and dignity of human life. They truly are The Pro-Life generation in the making.

When it comes to being pro-life, are we simply breathing or living? Are we willing to make the sacrifices needed to live the pro-life message with great courage, strength and hope? Throughout our pilgrimage we prayed this prayer to end abortion and I would like to share it with you:

Fr. Mark’s Musings