Fr. John's Letter Archives

Enjoy re-reading Fr. John's weekly bulletin letters for the past year.

Does anybody want what you have?

07-14-2013Fr. John LettersFr. John

Dear Friends,

I think I have DSP Withdrawal, as in Daughters of St. Paul. After spending a week with the sisters it's been a little empty without them. The love and joy the Sisters have is simply infectious. What great blessings they brought to our parish and to me. And the culmination of the week, the Perpetual Profession of Sr. Maria Kim, was a high-water mark for our Parish. Witnessing such a profound moment re-energized my own commitment to follow Jesus. And I would not hesitate to encourage any young woman to join their company.

As I originally told you the Daughters would teach us the secret to the "New Evangelization", how to share to Good News of the Gospel especially with our friends and family whose faith has lapsed. And true to form they did teach us. But it might not have been what you expected.

The Sisters are savvy about using the means of social communication as a vehicle to carry the Gospel. Their books, CD's, DVD's, publications are high quality and solid in content. The fact that they use Twitter and Facebook really effectively was demonstrated by the amount of e-mails and texts I received from all over the country. They know how to get the word out and they were also very generous in praising our community. The talks the Sisters gave each morning and evening were a real source of spiritual, emotional and intellectual nourishment. They have an excellent grasp on John Paul's Theology of the Body and wove it into all their presentations. Which if you heard any of the talks, they provided some excellent ways of counteracting so much of our culture's misunderstanding of what it means to be human, what it means to be a man, a woman and a family.

I would be remiss not to mention what a prayerful group of women the Daughters are. Part of their daily routine is to make a holy hour before the Blessed Sacrament. Spending time with them in prayer was a deeply moving experience for me. And wow could some of them really pray!

Their catechesis and prayer should have been enough to teach us how to be effective evangelists but it was neither of these that is the real secret of the new evangelization. What the key really is was demonstrated in the lives they lived. What they demonstrated loudly and clearly is that the most effective tool we have to proclaim the Gospel is the witness of our lives. When you spend some time with the Sisters you simply want what they have, you want their joy, their peace and their happiness. And that's what it takes to bring others to Christ.

And there it is. There is no better tool or way to bring others to a personal encounter with Jesus than by the witness of our lives. Which means we need to make sure that we have that same joy, same peace and same happiness as a result of our faith. And if we don't what do we need to do to get it? What has to change?

For the sisters the way to that deep joy is by living a vowed life of poverty, chastity and obedience. Now most of us are not called to the consecrated life but we are called to not allow anything to get between Christ and us. The awful burden of pursuing material things, placing our security in them and the even heavier burden of trying to keep them can be kept at bay by a simple lifestyle. For when we do so we are learning to place our trust in God and His providential care. And whenever we allow any of our natural instincts to run wild they become rapacious creditors always demanding more and more and giving less and less satisfaction. Chastity enables us to keep those instincts in their proper place by allowing us to control them and not them us. Finally the biggest struggle of all is with our own will. A life run on self-will is usually a disaster but many of us will still try to live our lives on will power alone, which is a guarantee of frustration after frustration. Obedience, surrendering to God's will, specifically as it is articulated in the teachings of the Bible and the Church is a counter-balance to self-will and the path to peace.

We owe the Daughters of St. Paul a deep debt of gratitude for showing us up close and personal how to draw others to Christ. The best way we could thank them is to follow their example and start living in such a way that others will see and want what we have.

Love, Fr. John B.

One of the most effective and consistent ways our Parish is a witness to others of the love of Christ is through our St. Vincent de Paul Society. For 60 yrs now our Vicentians at Mt. Carmel have tirelessly carried food to the needy but more importantly carried Christ to them. Blessings on all who have served with our conference!