After Sunday’s experience with my prayers for reversion, I would have thought my next “Hey, there You are!” experience wouldn’t come for a while. I was wrong.
I try to keep up with the Holy Father’s addresses as the translations come through my Zenit feed. Right now, he’s at the episcopal conference in Brazil, so he’s giving a lot of them. First, though, I read his homily at St. Augustine’s tomb in Italy. St. Augustine was, of course, amazing, as was his saintly mother Monica. St. Paul and St. Augustine are probably the biggest help in bringing about conversions, and reversions by extension. Parts of what His Holiness said spoke directly to my heart.
Only those who live a personal experience of the Lord’s love are able to exercise the task of guiding and accompanying others on the way of following Christ.
You have to get your own spiritual life in order before you can help anyone else. This is definitely true. I never would have been able to talk with my friend like I did on Holy Saturday if I hadn’t taken up the mission to self-catechize. I intend to get back on my Bible-in-a-year plan as soon as possible since the semester’s ending, but I’ve kept up with daily Mass and the LOTH. I’m no hypocrite.
The Church is not a mere organization of group events or, on the contrary, the sum of individuals who live a private religiosity. The Church is a community of people.
I’ve been feeling this more lately. After Spring Retreat, the Lord started speaking to my heart about the communal nature of the Church. I have become more extroverted over time, but I’m still an introvert at heart. I have a bad habit of making things about just me and the Lord when, in truth, the Church is a whole body, not just me.
The second address I especially enjoyed was to the youth of Brazil.
“If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor … and come, follow me” (Mt 19:21).
The question in the Gospel does not regard only the future. It does not regard only a question about what will happen after death. On the contrary, it exists as a task in the present, in the “here” and “now”, which must guarantee authenticity and consequently the future. In short, the young man’s question raises the issue of life’s meaning. It can therefore be formulated in this way: what must I do so that my life has meaning? How must I live so as to reap the full fruits of life? Or again: what must I do so that my life is not wasted?
Jesus alone can give us the answer, because he alone can guarantee us eternal life. He alone, therefore, can show us the meaning of this present life and give it fullness.
The meaning of life for me is directly tied to God: To know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him. The only way I know not to waste my life is to give it all to God. Yesterday, Fr. Bill gave the best homily I’ve heard so far. He even gave us a glimpse into his personal prayer life. The only way to know God, His Word, and His Holy Spirit, is to pray. The best path to prayer is silent. I have silence; it’s *time* that I need.
To understand what is good, we need help, which the Church offers us on many occasions, especially through catechesis. Jesus himself shows what is good for us by giving us the first element in his catechesis: “If you would enter life, keep the commandments” (Mt 19:17). He begins with the knowledge that the young man has surely already acquired from his family and from the synagogue: he knows the commandments. These lead to life, which means that they guarantee our authenticity. They are the great signs which lead us along the right path. Whoever keeps the commandments is on the way that leads to God.
“The Church proposes, she imposes nothing. –Pope John Paul II (Redemptoris Missio, 39)
I think about this when people try to rationalize away Church teachings. The rules exist for a reason. Jesus said to follow them, and he put St. Peter in charge. It can’t be that hard to understand.
On a happier note, I am now on a break from finals. I have a comm exam that shouldn’t be too hard, my Spanish exam, and an essay to write, but none of that comes before Thursday afternoon. Many thanks go to my dear guardian angel, St. Thomas Aquinas, and our Lord for getting me through the last week.