Spiritually Whining

Letters from a Pastor to His People- September 27, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

"That's not fair!" How many times have we heard that from a toddler? Or from a NFL player complaining about a flag (or no flag)?  Or maybe a spouse saying "that's not fair!" to his/her partner?  Or a priest saying that to his bishop?  Or an associate pastor or seminarian saying that to his pastor (never here, of course, at Saint Juliana!)?

Or us saying that to God?

We might not know we're complaining internally to God.  We can usually tell by our "spiritual mood."  Are you more prone to distraction in prayer? Do you find yourself brooding in prayer or anxious in prayer? Is there a glaring division between your prayer life and moral life? That is, you seem to be praying okay or experiencing peace at Mass, but then as soon as you see your family or walk out to the parking lot you're angry?

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Christ Will Be Magnified In My Body

Letters from a Pastor to His People- September 20, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

I do my best to exercise regularly.  When the gym to which I belong closed during Covid I began to jog outside.  In fact, you might have seen me (and my apologies, if you have).  Well, by some inspiration of the Holy Spirit, when I returned from my 30-Day Retreat I began running through St. Adalbert Cemetery.  I mentioned this on a recent Chi-Bro podcast.  I very much enjoy 'running amongst the tombstones' because (no, I haven't lost my mind) the grounds are beautiful and quiet and full of religious symbols to keep me focused on Jesus.  Also because I'm confronted, when I do so, with my own mortality.  Sure, I'm healthy and young now, able to run and exercise, but death is chasing me and will eventually catch me.  I won't live forever and I certainly won't be healthy forever.  I am dust and unto dust I shall return.

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Forgiveness Is Our Rest

Letters from a Pastor to His People- September 13, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

When you get hurt playing sports or exercising, the best thing to do is rest.  I think of spraining an ankle.  If you keep running on the ankle, it won't properly heal and you'll never be playing at one hundred percent. 

Now, there are some exceptional athletes where the team is better off with the individual playing at less than one hundred percent than sitting out altogether.  But, for most of us peons where our "100%" is still not really that great, it is more advantageous to us let the injury completely heal. 

I have this image in mind when I read the line from our first reading, "Could anyone nourish anger against another and expect healing from the LORD?" (Sirach 28:3). 

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Fraternal Correction

Letters from a Pastor to His People- September 6, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

In the priesthood there is an idea known as "fraternal correction."  In fact, I remember in seminary having an evening of formation dedicated to this topic, so important a subject it was.  Fraternal correction is delicately approaching a brother priest to help him deal with something that might be an issue in his life.  It could be something as simple as letting him know he has bad breath to calling him out on a serious vice.

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Moderation and Temperance

Letters from a Pastor to His People- August 30, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

When I first started seminary in the fall of 2007 right after graduating college, I remember going to the gym downstairs in the seminary basement to work out. On the wall by the bench press was this quote from today's second reading: "offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship" (Romans 12:1).

Yo, bro, you lift?

I heard Jesus say that to me. Just kidding.

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St. Peter

Letters from a Pastor to His People- August 23, 2020

I love Saint Peter. He has to be my favorite saint. I know I joke with the daily Mass crowd often in my homilies about how I have hundreds of "favorite saints"; how my "top five" list of saints contains about 50. But this I really mean, and I really mean that. Beside the Blessed Mother, Saint Peter is my favorite. The kids in school often ask me who my favorite saint is, and my response is always Peter.

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