Bishop's monthly message...
With this week’s prayer, the parishes and missions of our four regions ... the deaneries of Natchitoches, the eastern region, the central region and the Avoyelles ... have entered into the very heart of our faith-life during this “holiest of weeks.”
After Jesus was celebrated by the crowds as He entered holy Jerusalem for Passover (Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord), He prayed at the Temple, proclaimed the Kingdom of His Father throughout the city, and as the great remembrance of EXODUS approached ... as He desired to celebrate this ritual of the Passover with his closest disciples ... He brought them into His passion of obedience and humility (Holy Thursday’s washing of the feet and Eucharist).
He became for us the Lamb of sacrifice…liberating us from the grasp of the enemy of our human nature (Good Friday). He slept the death that we will each sleep (Holy Saturday).
Then, in what no one could have imagined, the Crucified One ... who died by the hand of the State (the torture of Crucifixion) ... is now recognized and lauded as the Christ, the Anointed One of God, the Risen Lord, who is our doorway to new birth ... new life ... joy with God.
God who is Love.
I urge each of you to try and take part in the Sacred Triduum of Holy Week. My brother priests will offer this Liturgy of three days throughout the four deaneries of our diocese. Look to join them. Look to pray as a Catholic family…..to accompany the Lord in a liturgical remembrance that will allow us to taste and see the reality of the Presence of the Lord ... here and now ... in the Sacraments of Emmanuel (God with us) here in central Louisiana (Isaiah 7.14, Matthew 1.23).
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As you and I hope to enter into the prayer of these three days ... the Sacred Triduum ... allow me to suggest this short reflection of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI as a catalyst for our prayer:
“When Jesus talks about fire, he means in the first place his own Passion, which was a Passion of love and was therefore a fire; the new burning bush, which burns and is not consumed; a fire that is to be handed on. Jesus does not come to make us comfortable; rather he sets fire to the earth; he brings the great living fire of divine love…which is what the Holy Spirit is, a fire that burns. Truth does not come cheap. It makes demands, and it also burns.” (from Benedictus. Magnificat, 2006).
Christ the Lord is the gift of the Father ... the burning fire of God. As Moses approached the burning bush (drawn by God’s Presence), so we, -- who follow the Lord as His missionary disciples -- we are drawn to the light and love of Christ the Lord -- a burning fire; and as we are burnt with love, we long to pass on the warmth -- as He did -- as He does, through us.
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam
(For The Greater Glory of God)