Bishop’s Letter: Pursue God

Jesus Christ in white robe gives a helping hand to the faithful, crucifixion cross on background. Son of God, christian faith symbol

 

 

Pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. Compete well for the faith.

1 Timothy 6:11,12

My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

St. Paul reminds Timothy of his duty to restrain false and useless teaching as Timothy teaches others about God.  The Scripture is poignant for our daily living because we can be led astray by false teachings.  We can be challenged to remain faithful in good times; yet, in difficulty, we readily turn to God.  We are filled with the noise of news and other information from all sorts of sources, even from each other, and we may not be able to determine what is a false teaching.

Our relationship with God cannot be one that we turn on and off, that when we are in need, we seek Him.  Otherwise, not so much.  Our relationship with God is the fullness of life.  Just as we are attentive to members of our families, our friends, so we also are attentive to God, wholly, completely, 24,7,365.

Pray, Study, Give Alms.  We often hear these words during the season of Lent and make them a focus of our Lenten journey.  However, they are the foundation of a Eucharistic community; one who seeks God in all things.  They elicit action and center us on God.  Consider what we were doing as we learned of the possibility of a Category 5 hurricane named Dorian coming to where we live.  We were, of course, rushing to purchase the essentials and making our homes ready for impact.  Some of us left our homes and fled for safety.  Many of us sought the true essential—to pray and participate in the celebration of Mass.  After Hurricane Dorian spared us, I hope that you praised God and participated in the celebration of Mass, the best prayer of thanksgiving.  I hope that you gathered with your family to pray for those who were suffering from the effects of the storm.  Talking with God through prayer is an intimacy that can only increase our love for God and for each other, who are of God.  Pope Francis said, “Closeness to God also leads directly to desire for closeness to God’s people.”

During the celebration of Mass we hear the Word of God, we are taught its meaning, and we live it joyfully as we journey through the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  We are also called to study Scripture in other ways.  Reading Scripture and reflecting upon it helps us to know God.  Learning about who we are helps us to restrain against false teaching.  We can truthfully share with each other our love for God.

When we are in relationship with God, we listen for God’s call.  We must listen to each other to know how we can serve in the Lord’s name.  Many of you heard the cry of the poor and contributed financially to the Disasters 2019 Collection and/or made contributions of various physical needs such as generators, food, etc. and dropped these items off to Catholic Charities or parishes specified as drop off sites throughout the Diocese.

“Preach and serve, but do not make use of others,” said Pope Francis.  “Serve and give freely that which you have received freely.  May our life of holiness be permeated by this openness of heart, so that the gratuitousness of God – the graces that He wishes to give us without cost – may enter our hearts.”

St. Paul lays out a roadmap of virtues, righteousness (a right relationship with God), devotion, faith, love, patience, gentleness and encourages us to pursue them always that we might know God.  Pray, Study, Give Alms – these keep us on the right path to reject excesses which may tempt us to forget who we are, Catholics living as Christ taught.

May we compete well for the faith.