Bishop’s Letter: Children of God

Apr 19, 2021


See what love the Father has bestowed on us
that we may be called the children of God.
Yet so we are.

1 John 3:1

My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

St. John reminds us that we are beloved.  He tells us of the Father’s indelible love He offers us through His Son who came to live among us that we may be called His children.  He proclaims to us that we are holy.  God honors us as sacred, through, with and in Him.  If we are in relationship with God, then we cannot but show the face of God in everything we do.  We bring His Son forever into this world by our love of God.  He is truly risen.

Of whom do you think when you hear the word, holy?  Often, we think of another person, a saint or someone else close to us.  Holiness is recognizing the presence of the Spirit in an individual.  Baptism affirms a person to be Spirit-filled.  The community of faith to whom St. John speaks recognizes the gift of the Holy Spirit and the great love of God transcending their daily living, no matter the difficulties or crossroads or uncertainties.  When you hear the word, holy, think of you!

Pope Francis, in his exhortation, Gaudete et Exultate, writes about the signs of holiness in our daily living, “The first of these great signs is solid grounding in the God who loves and sustains us. This source of inner strength enables us to persevere amid life’s ups and downs, but also to endure hostility, betrayal and failings on the part of others. “If God is for us, who is against us?” (Rom 8:31): this is the source of the peace found in the saints. Such inner strength makes it possible for us, in our fast-paced, noisy and aggressive world, to give a witness of holiness through patience and constancy in doing good. It is a sign of the fidelity born of love, for those who put their faith in God can also be faithful to others. They do not desert others in bad times; they accompany them in their anxiety and distress, even though doing so may not bring immediate satisfaction.”

Through our Baptism, we are called to be holy all the days of our life.  This means that we are called to love and serve God at all times; to be the language of His Word in everything we do – from the moment we rise to our daily activities, even place our rest within the Lord’s care.  Jesus taught us how to be holy.  He taught us how to pray in all matters.  He turned to speak with the Father before He went out to preach or to heal the sick or to visit family.  Each moment He lived on this earth, He was in prayer to the Father for us.  At His last breath, He offered us forgiveness out of the greatest love.  Jesus is familiar with the struggles of life.  He leads us out of the darkness with gentle kindness.

Call yourself and others holy.  Greet each other in the name of the Lord.  See yourself and others for what you are, made with Divine Love.  How fragrant might our daily living be incensed by that holiness.  Extend a hand to someone who needs to be raised up; send a text of prayer instead of consternation; take a ‘selfie’ of you smiling and send it to a family member.  Remember the dead with visitation or prayer.  Make a donation to Catholic Charities of Central Florida or offer your time to one of your parish ministries.  Call a parishioner whom you have not recently seen in the celebration of Mass.  Pray for your enemies.  All forms of prayer can be the leaven to which Jesus compares the Kingdom.  Participate in the celebration of Mass and receive the holy Eucharist, the bread from heaven.  Become Who you receive.

Beloved, we are God’s children now.  Let us go in Peace, glorifying the Lord by our life.