Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Words From Fr bEd (From July 3rd, 2011 Bulletin)

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” Mt.11:28

If we wanted to narrow down to three words the most important instruction of the Gospel, we could easily choose these three, “Come to me….” Everything else that we need to know and do flows from this simple response to Jesus’ invitation. Consider these words and how we might respond, because it is a constant invitation to our souls. Jesus desires us to turn to Him for all of our needs.

When we hear these words addressed to us, what do we imagine? It is an important meditation. I invite you to take a few minutes to consider this. Even a few seconds can begin to give us the ‘rest’ that Jesus speaks of. Why? Because Jesus is our sufficiency. When we have Him we have everything that we need.

Remember the story of Jesus walking on the water past the disciples? (Jn 6:16-21) Verse 21 reads “They wanted to take him into the boat, but the boat immediately arrived at the shore to which they were heading.” The disciples’ desire to be with Jesus was enough to also bring about their earthly desires.

There is something similar in Matthew 6. Jesus is speaking of the kingdom and its sufficiency. “Seek first the kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things (food, clothing, drink) will be given you besides.” (Mt 6:33) It is in seeking Him, placing Jesus first, that all our other priorities are fulfilled according to God‘s perfect plan.

You might be experiencing some doubt about this principle as you read this. I believe it is something you have to try in order to realize the truth of it. God is ready to fulfill His part of this equation, this relational covenant. But we have a part. This is crucial to a loving relationship with God. Somehow in our ‘entitlement’ culture, we come to think that God owes us everything and that we have nothing to do but receive.

Now there is a truth in that. We are called to receive. But that includes words like; “Come to me”. God gives us also the grace to come, if we are willing. We must engage our will in the process and lift our foot, open our eyes, pick up the Bible, bend the knee, start the car, or whatever action is necessary to cooperate with what we understand to mean ‘Come’.

“Everything is grace”, St. Therese liked to say. We depend on God’s life-giving grace for everything, including our little efforts to cooperate with God. But these efforts are not ‘nothing’. They are an expression of our will, our intention and our love. ‘Coming’ to Jesus is the absolute best thing we can possibly do for ourselves. Give it a try and you will not be disappointed.

Commandments for Husbands and Fathers, cont.

To review what I printed earlier, the first two commandments repeat what I have said above:

1) Develop an intimate, personal relationship with Jesus

2) Get your priorities in order: Jesus first, your wife second, your children third… [Sorry ladies, but if your husband idolizes you to the detriment of his faith, you will end up a sorry loser. Spouses cannot fill a God-sized hole in our lives. Trying to do so is a constant source of frustration and disappointment. EW]  

3)  Realize you are a priest, a spiritual leader in the home. Here’s a new one: Make sure you know what your children are being taught at school regarding morals and values. All teachers teach “in your place” as you and your wife are the primary educators of your children. If objectionable subjects or materials are being taught in the classroom, you must stand strong. "The place and task of the father in and for the family is of unique and irreplaceable importance. In revealing and in reliving on earth the very fatherhood of God, a man is called upon to ensure the harmonious and united development of all the members of the family.” - John Paul II [Regardless of whether a school is secular or Catholic, parents must be vigilant about the content of their child’s formation. All teachers impart some moral viewpoint to your children. It is inevitable. Are your children’s teachers forming your children in real virtue?]

More commandments to follow. See for more information.

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