Bishop’s message for February: Abundant Life, today, all of us

For those of you reading this column, whether in our February edition of The Church Today or on the Diocesan website, consider this: how did you come to know the great gift of God…in the Person of Jesus of Nazareth? How have you found the strength of faith that allows you to dedicate your hearts to Christ the Lord, the Image of the Invisible God? How is it that you are a member of Christ’s Church…a unique and unrepeatable living stone in the temple of His Body (1 Peter 2.4), here and now?

Some of you, probably most of you reading these words, were brought into the mystery of Jesus by your mom, your dad or another family member. The domestic church (the Catholic family) is the foundation of it all, as parents seek to instruct and form their children, to grow into faith-filled adults capable of transforming the earth through the abundant life promised us in Christ (John 10.10). Along with this domestic church, your parish might have had a hand in forming you as a devout Catholic, as an intentional disciple of the Lord Jesus. Maybe a favorite priest or deacon or catechist–a disciple that offered you a sense of faith that was alive?

For some of us not Catholic growing up, we found our way–His Way for us–through a variety of avenues: the parish Catechumenate (“R.C.I.A.”); a spouse; a friend; a book read or a piece of art seen or a film viewed…maybe the A.C.T.S. retreat movement or the Charismatic Renewal…maybe through serving the hungry at Manna House?

However the Lord brought us and whenever the Lord brought us we are HOME as members of this world-wide Church and we pray to remain in the Lord as He promises to remain in us. He, the Vine of Life, we, the living branches of this Vine (John 15. 4-5) to the Glory that is the living and majestic God.

Okay, maybe you are still reading. Maybe you are still with me, even though this might seem to some as boring “Church-talk”. What I want you to know is that this Lord that we love, this God that we seek to adore and serve, the Lord promises you and me abundant life today, all of us. How so? As this gift of faith becomes real to you, present to you….guiding you, as you surrender to the Way of Love that is the Way of Life, your life will be an abundance, even if poor, even if you deal with an illness, even if there are moments of uncertainty and confusion. Whether single or married, whether young or old, whether filled in consolation or manifestly broken….if you have been given the gift of faith and have seen something of His Light you have this intuition, that the darkness should not be feared (John 8. 12). For God so loved the world.

AMDG