Father James Wallace

Take a 30-Day Retreat With Me

Letters from a Pastor to His People- July 12, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

Just a reminder, I am away currently and will be for the entire month of July making a 30-Day Retreat.  I wrote this week’s letter, and the upcoming letters, ahead of time, just to offer a little spiritual reflection on the readings.  I would also, however, like to provide some wisdom from St. Ignatius of Loyola.  Perhaps you could do a little "30-Day Retreat" with me.

Jesus provides in our Gospel this week the classic parable of the Sower.  We are the ground.  Jesus sows his grace and his word upon us.  The question is, what kind of ground are we?  Are we a path, rocky ground, a field with thorn bushes, or rich soil?

The Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius

Letters from a Pastor to His People- July 5, 2020

 

Dear Parishioners,

If you missed my bulletin letter from last week, I explained how I am away currently and will be for the entire month of July making a 30-Day Retreat.  Just a reminder, I will not respond to any messages, so if there is an emergency, please contact the parish office or Father Emanuel. I wrote this week’s letter, and the upcoming letters, ahead of time, just to offer a little spiritual reflection on the readings.  I would also, however, like to provide some wisdom from St. Ignatius of Loyola.  Perhaps you could do a little "30-Day Retreat" with me.

Luigi and Marie Beltrame Quattrocchi

Retreat is a term we do not like. We think of it as failing or quitting, with an accompanying sense of shame. Surrender, which of course is linked to retreat, is also very difficult.

But it is to the ideal of surrender that we are called in the spiritual life. We are called to retreat. We are not to be like Ulysses S. Grant, who famously wrote in May 1864 to the War Department of his plans to do anything but retreat against Lee's army. "I propose to fight it out on this line if it takes all summer," he said. Christ surrender on the cross. So too are we.

My Modus Vivendi

Letters from a Pastor to His People- June 28, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

As a priest, I have taken to heart the Lord's words from the Gospel, "whoever loses his life for my sake will find it" (Matthew 10:39). This is my modus vivendi, if you will; my philosophy, my operating procedure, my ethic. I love God more than anything in the world and have been called by him to completely follow him, abandoning everything for him. I seek to lose my life, so I can live for God. As John the Baptist said, "I must decrease, he must increase" (John 3:30). Or, in the words of Saint Paul, "it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me" (Galatians 2:20).

Angel of Auschwitz

It is in the midst of terrible suffering that God brings forth tremendous graces.  It was seen in the year 261, when a plague broke out in Alexandria and a group of Christians tended to the sick and dying when no one else would.  They were executed for this heroic deed and later canonized.  The Martyrs of the Plague of Alexandria, as they are called, have been praying for us.

"Fear no one and fear no thing", says Jesus

Letters from a Pastor to His People- June 21, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

Wow, another incredibly fitting set of readings this weekend.  Amazing how the Spirit of God is moving in a particular way with our Liturgy and the Lectionary, providing for us great words to meditate upon in these times and encourage us.  There are times when I need to do a little digging and use my creativity to find a relevant message from the Mass readings.  Not this weekend!

I'm focusing, in particular, on the Gospel.  Our Lord provides a great, laconic exhortation: "Fear no one" (Matthew 10:26).  Go ahead and tape that one up on your bathroom mirror.

Thanks Be To God

Letters from a Pastor to His People- June 14, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

Boy oh boy. I think we all can really appreciate this year's Feast of Corpus Christi more than ever.

We celebrate in a particular way today the importance of the Eucharist, the Mass, our Lord's Body and Blood. For several months, as you don't need me to remind you, you all were unable to receive Communion! And, as of writing this letter and submitting it in advance for the bulletin publishing deadline, I'm not even sure if you'll be able to receive the Body and Blood of Jesus today. It'd be like not being able to have a tree, give gifts, and recognize the baby Jesus on Christmas...times ten.

The Holy Virgin Kisses the Face of Jesus

The most famous of James J. Tissot's religious paintings, which reside in the Brooklyn Museum of Art, is What Our Lord Saw from the Cross. But my favorite of Tissot's is The Holy Virgin Kisses the Face of Jesus Before He is Enshrouded on the Anointing Stone. A cumbersome title, I know, but a painting worth meditating upon.

The Book of Exodus

Letters from a Pastor to His People- June 7, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

It's really important that we read and reread this short first reading from the Book of Exodus.  Let it form our mind.  Let it help our understanding of God.  We need this proper knowledge of the Lord if we are going to navigate the complexities of our moral and spiritual life.

Moses returns up to Mount Sinai and Yahweh reveals another title by which he can be called: Lord.  I don't know about you, but I like using this title, Lord, for God.  Yes, I certainly use other titles when I pray and when I'm in relationship with God: Jesus, Father, friend, brother, Spirit.  'Lord' doesn't give me a sense of fear or servility in a bad way.  I like 'Lord' because it emphasizes for me that God is the one in control, not me.  He is guiding my life, he has a plan for me—a plan that is better than anything I could concoct—and that it is to my advantage to simply surrender to him.  Remember that "Surrender Novena" we prayed a few months ago?  The title 'Lord' is all wrapped up in that.

Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison, the greatest American inventor, was skeptical of the existence of the soul and its immortality.  He compared it to the reproduction of sound. "Yet no one," he said, "thinks of claiming immortality for the cylinders or the phonograph. Then why claim it for the brain mechanism or the power that drives it? Because we don't know what this power is, shall we call it immortal?"  Edison went on to say, on another occasion, "I have not reached my conclusions through study of tradition; I have reached them through the study of hard fact.  Proof! Proof! That is what I have always been after; that is what my mind requires before it can accept a theory as a fact."