Be a Saint - There's Nothing Else

03-17-2019Pastor's LetterRev. Gregory B. Wilson, VF

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

When many people work together toward one goal, the goal is not only accomplished faster and better, but also those working toward the goal grow together in unity. In the holy season of Lent, the entire Mystical Body of Christ – you, me, and the whole Church throughout the world – has entered the spiritual desert with Jesus to fast and pray toward the goal of greater holiness. If done well, our Lenten practices will refine our focus, polish our spiritual life, and free us from persistent sinful habits.

A lady once told me (don’t worry – it was a very long time ago and not at this parish!) that she didn’t like the notion that “holiness” was our goal. She thought no one could understand it, and it didn’t seem very attainable. So she wanted to know what was a different goal she should try. I hated to break it to her, but there isn’t one.

“This is the will of God, your holiness” (1 Thess. 4:3); “[The Father] chose us in Christ, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before Him” (Ephesians 1:4). Holiness is the primary characteristic and fundamental quality of God. Jesus gives it as our standard: “Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect (Matt 5:48).” The only human inhabitants of heaven are Saints. (The word “saint” comes from the Latin, “sanctus,” which means “holy.”) And yes, holiness is possible! It is the practice of dying to self, taking up our cross, and following the Teacher as His disciple. Holiness is nurtured by prayer, reflection, and the reading of Scripture. It is lived out in works of mercy and charity, and in simply being Christ-like to others throughout the day.

Lumen Gentium from Vatican II devotes an entire chapter to this subject. Perhaps this can be some supplemental reading, and it’s free online. Search the title and go to Chapter V, “The Universal Call to Holiness in the Church.” In the simple words of Mother Teresa, the purpose of life is to become holy and go to heaven. Of course, try to take some people with you!

Sunday (March 17) is family night with middle and high school students, their families, and anyone else who would like to come from 6:15-8pm in St. Angela Hall. Enjoy an Irish/Italian dinner and play trivia to celebrate not only our families but St. Patrick and St. Joseph. What a great time to remember how important parents are than on the feast of St. Joseph?

This Tuesday, March 19 is the Solemnity of St. Joseph. On solemnities that fall during Lent, you get a day off from your penances! I’m not making that up. We will have a special Mass Tuesday at 5:30pm in Old St. Mary’s to honor St. Joseph.

Finally, we are looking at the evening of Monday, April 1 for a special Mass and Holy Hour for healing of victims of sexual abuse. More information will follow.

Let us pray for each other to become holy – to become a saint!

Father Wilson