Dear friends in Christ:
In so many ways, spiritually speaking, this a beautiful time of the year! Baptisms of adults and Professions of Faith at Easter, First Communions, Confirmations, weddings and ordinations. That is just a tremendous amount of God’s wonderful grace (notice I avoided saying amazing!). Indeed, as when any member of the Church grows in God’s grace it is beneficial to all in the Church. Likewise, when grace is diminished or sin occurs it negatively impacts all in the Body of Christ. As so many are receiving sacraments and the graces they bestow, we should all seek to grow in the life of grace and use the grace individually and corporately to build up the Body of Christ, the Church. Sadly, it is not an uncommon occurrence that God generously bestows his grace upon us and we then neglect it. Baptisms received, First Communions made, marriages blessed and people move on to the next thing. No more Sunday mass, no praying together, no more studying or deepening our knowledge and understanding of the faith. This happens not just with Sacraments but sadly with families and the religious formation of children (CCE/Catholic School). Some families sadly don’t come to mass during the summer or when CCE is not in session. Others see summer vacation as a vacation from Mass. Unbelievably, many do not even realize that missing mass deliberately is a sin (breaking of the Third Commandment) and if they do realize it, they don’t seem to care or consider it important. Ugh.
The beautiful reality is that God never ceases to love us. He always seeks to gift us with his grace in the sacraments. He longs for us to grow and be enriched by the power of His Divine Grace. He never withholds his beautiful grace from us, but we have to be willing to accept it and allow it to penetrate our hearts and our lives.
We make it difficult for ourselves and our families when we skip mass, don’t come to confession regularly and don’t pray daily. When we put other things before our love and devotion of God, it is more challenging for us to experience the love, the grace, the mercy and the strength that the Lord desires for us. This is especially true in marriages and families. When one spouse doesn’t pray or come to mass it impacts the other. When the parents don’t come to Mass every Sunday, we are teaching our children that God, the Faith and mass are not as important as our personal wants, desires and convenience. When parents do not devote themselves to bringing their children to Mass every Sunday, we are in a true sense practicing “spiritual child abuse”. We are teaching them that God is not a priority in our lives and that the Commandments really are not that important. Oh how sad, how truly sad!
Another beautiful truth of our Catholic faith is that we are a community, a family. As a family of faith we are there to help each other, to remind each other, to encourage each other. And sometimes, we need to correct and reprove each other out of love and respect. God’s love for us is always “over the top”. He never gives us just enough, but always an abundance. The sad part is that we tend to be willing to take the least when he wants us to have the most! Make no excuses, come to mass every week even during the summer. Take the risk and ask your spouse to pray with you. Do someone a favor and invite them to come to mass with you. If you know somebody (family member or friend) who has missed mass, encourage them to return, tell them that you missed them, and offer to help them if there is a challenge or issue that prevents them from coming to mass. Most of all pray for them and ask them to pray for you!
When one member of the Christ’s Body increases in his grace the whole body is enriched.
In Pace Christi,
Fr. Troy Gately