Dear Friends in Christ:
Our long journey continues. As we continue on this path, I want to encourage you not to lose hope and stay strong in your faith. All of us are tired, but God’s mercies are not exhausted. We still rejoice each and every day in His infinite love! Even if we did not have the coronavirus, we would still be in the dog days of summer: Heat and Humidity – a Texas Tradition! I hope that you are staying cool.
One of my greatest concerns through all of this is YOU. I am concerned not only for your physical and emotional health and well-being as many of you are, but I am especially concerned for your spiritual health and well-being during this long trial. At various times, I have mentioned in these messages and in the bulletin letters the importance of taking care of yourselves but I would like to again encourage you to take care of your spiritual life. Far too often, we forget that our physical, emotional and spiritual lives are all interconnected. If we are suffering in one area, this will impact us in other areas of our lives. Here are a few helpful suggestions.
Daily Prayer. Prayer is the oxygen of our souls. If our oxygen is cut off, we cannot live and our organs begin to fail. So too, if we do not maintain a strong and constant relationship with the Lord, various aspects of our lives will suffer – our emotional life, marriages, relationships, attitudes, self-image and more. A healthy prayer life is good for a healthy life. Pray each day. It helps to have a set time and place. It can be morning or night or both. Pray in the car, in bed, in your favorite chair or in the back yard. My mother said she prayed in the shower! Pray by yourself but also with your spouse and family. The family that prays together, stays together. Read Scripture, I particularly like the Psalms especially Ps 16, 23, 27, 51, 91, 116. Read the daily Mass readings. Pray the rosary. Have an on-going conversation with the Lord throughout the day. Pray to your favorite saints. Keep a prayer list of people who need prayer.
Mass and Adoration. For some, it has been months since we have been able to attend Mass and receive the sacraments. Come to Mass. You can keep social distance. If you are concerned about crowds, the weekday masses have far fewer people. If you are concerned about receiving communion, you may make a Spiritual Communion. If you are still concerned, that is OK, come to make a Visit to the Blessed Sacrament. The Adoration Chapel is open 24/7 and the Church and chapel are open until 8:00 pm. Bring the family.
Confession. We are blessed to offer confessions. Unload the burden of sin and receive the grace of forgiveness in Holy Confession. We have confessions in the Cry Rooms in the church during this time. If it has been a long time, don’t worry. The priests are always ready to welcome you back.
Discipleship. Jesus has no need of a fan club. He calls us to be His disciples and witnesses. During these challenging times, many people are starving for hope. They are lost in the darkness and looking for the light. They are in desperate need of encouragement and hope. They need you and me to bring them to Jesus and Jesus to them. Share your faith with others. Tell them the stories of how Jesus makes your life better and richer. Let the light of your faith and God’s goodness shine like a city on a hill. Don’t hide your faith under a bushel basket of fear! If we can brag about our kids or our car or whatever, we can proclaim the greatness of the Glory of God! God is so good! How can we keep it all to ourselves?
The Near Temptation of Sin. Garbage in – Garbage Out. One of the ways to be spiritually healthy is avoiding not just sin, but the near occasions of sin, those things that can lead us to sin. Jesus says if our right eye causes us to sin to cut it off. Now of course he is not talking about physical amputations, but we should do some surgery in what we expose ourselves to. Gossiping has never made anyone a better person. The way to avoid one drink too many is to stop before the first drink. The way to avoid falling into temptations of the flesh is to guard and have custody of our senses. Be careful of what we watch, what we listen to and who we hang around. Technology is not always our friend in this regard. Be cautious of what websites, videos and even music we watch and listen to. Garbage in – Garbage out!
Mercy. Our God is an AWESOME God, because His mercy endures forever. What God desires for us and from us is mercy. What has caused you hurt and pain in your life? Offer it to God. Who has hurt you in the past or is causing you pain right now? Give them your mercy and forgiveness. What have you done to hurt others or yourself? Let God give you His mercy and forgiveness. If you are having trouble forgiving yourself, ask God to help you to let go of the guilt, the shame and the pain.
Fear and Trust. We live in a world that seems like it is addicted to fear. The litany of things to be afraid of seems to grow every day. The virus, the economy, politics, crime, traffic, the future, people not wearing masks, social distancing, the Russians, the Marxists and Socialists, the Mob, work, school, etc. Fear is useless, what is needed is trust. Mk 5:36. The most repeated phrase in all of the bible is “Be not afraid”. It appears 365 times, once for every day of the year! Whatever is causing your fear or anxiety give it to the Lord and place your trust in Him. Everyday. Always. Forever. Whenever you are afraid or anxious simply say, “Jesus, I trust in You! Jesus, I believe in You! Jesus, I love You!”
Be the Good. Does it seem like there is nothing but bad news? That we are surrounded by nothing but naysayers and pessimists? That all people can do is complain, gripe and be negative? Don’t be one of them. Look for the good. Count your blessings. Be the one to point out what is good and right, beautiful and excellent. Be the good wherever you go and with everyone you meet!
The key to Happiness is Holiness! Be holy and Be happy!
In pace Christi,