Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Words from Fr Ed (From Feb. 6, 2011 Bulletin)

Salty Souls
“…it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house.” - Mt 5:15
Our Lord gives two important aspects of discipleship in the Gospel this weekend, namely, the need to care for
one’s self and secondly, the acceptance of the public and evangelical nature of our religion. Jesus speaks first of salt
losing its taste or saltiness. We are, in His words, “the salt of the earth”. Like the seasoning, we are to bring a certain
flavor to the world. We ought to affect it in a positive way.

Fortunately, we do many works at St. Stephen’s that have a positive effect on our community at large, both in the spiritual as well as
the material arenas. From Grief Support to Terrific Tuesdays, there are over 80 ministries in our parish that address a gamut of possible
needs. But the Gospel is not just for the community, it is also for each of us personally. A community is also simply a collection of individuals.
If individuals are failing in some area, eventually it affects the whole.

So how are these Gospel verses calling us to care for our ‘saltiness’? Are we personally a positive flavoring of Christ for those
around us and how do we nourish this characteristic? One, saltiness comes from genuine prayer. Honesty is the best policy. Are we being
honest with God, both through formal, structured prayer, and spontaneous dialogue with Our Maker? Funny, even as I am writing this I realized
that I hadn’t prayed beforehand. So I’ve stopped now to pray.

Everything ought to begin with prayer. Do you pray before your work day? Do you pray before family time? Do you pray before an
important decision? Often I can find myself fretting about something until I realize that I’m not praying about it. As soon as I turn to prayer, the
anxiety disappears. Remember St. Paul’s admonition, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving,
make your needs known to God. Then (and only then) the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and
minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:6-7)

One beautiful thing we can become aware of during these prayers, is that God desires to be much more than a Divine Quartermaster,
dishing out solutions to our requests. He desires a friendship with each and every one of us. Isn’t that worth discovering? Prayer about
daily things, work, relationships, finances, temptations, can easily lead us into recollection about an even greater good. God wants to give us
God, permanently, forever, in love and happiness. That is worth every moment.

When we know God’s goodness through experience, we become quite salty with the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit. Then others
are affected by our presence, our words, and our deeds. They can see the light of Christ shining through us. They taste its warmth and healing
power. We have this not only as a gift, but also as a responsibility. If we have received freely, we must give freely. A gift truly received is
also given, knowing that God promises the greatest gift for us each week in the Eucharist and on into Eternity.

I’ll let this suffice for now to cover both aspects of discipleship, but we also have a great celebration this week on Monday night that
proclaims and empowers 70 youths and adults with the strengthening of the Holy Spirit. Confirmation imparts a power to use the gifts of the
Holy Spirit and to share one’s faith. Please join me in praying for all these candidates, that they might receive the Holy Spirit with humble and
open hearts. Here is a little prayer that will help them:

Come, Holy Spirit
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful and enkindle in them the fire of Thy love.
V. Send forth Thy Spirit and they shall be created.
R. And Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.
Let us pray. O God, Who didst instruct the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant us in the same Spirit to be truly wise, and
ever to rejoice in His consolation. Through Christ our Lord.


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