Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Saint Paul reminds us: “Do not conform yourself to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Rom 12:2) Transformation and renewal are hard work, and it’s so easy to throw in the towel and conform to the thinking of mainstream culture. It is challenging to discern the will of God. Mainstream culture encourages us to attach ourselves to the newest fad or ideology that will make our lives “easier.” It focusses on self-preservation and gratification. It is demonstrated in the thinking of Saint Peter in this weekend’s Gospel. When Jesus predicts his passion, Peter’s response reflects a cultural mindset and becomes an obstacle to Jesus. How often have you responded like Peter?
Jesus opens his disciples to the will of God that is in front of Him. A future for Jesus that his culture sees as darkness, but Jesus knows that it will lead to a perfect triumph over evil. We all have many choices to make throughout our days. Many decisions are guided by common sense and do not take much thought. However, there are times when we are confronted with decisions that could have great ramifications on our journey to eternal life. On these occasions, do you discern with the help of God? Do you take time to really pray for spiritual guidance to do what is good and pleasing and perfect? Do you invoke the Holy Spirit’s help to know the Fathers will? I will honestly tell you that this is hard and a struggle for even me. It’s much easier to find answers that suit my personal agenda and outlook on life. How difficult it is to be silent and patient, listening for the Holy Spirit’s guidance and willing to be challenged by it. It is rarely the easiest path.
As our students return to school, our teachers, administrators, and parents have and continue to discern best practices for providing education while protecting our students and extended community. Similar discernment is happening with religious formation. New this year for our P.S.R. program is an initiative that encourages families to make a prayer table in their homes. With some materials that are being provided, this sacred space becomes a place where all family members can listen to the Holy Spirit – a space void of the distractions, like technology, where true faith can be expressed and nourished. In many of our homes, a space like this is needed and serves as a simple reminder of our faith to help us know the will of God. If you would like to know more about this initiative and receive some of the materials to form your own prayer table, contact Collen Houk. She would be happy to get you the materials to start a prayer table for your quiet faith renewal.
Next week our nation will celebrate Labor Day, a civic holiday that calls to mind the dignity of human labor. Consider attending Mass on September 7th to pray, in particular, for those who are frontline workers confronting the Covid-19 virus.
Saint James Monday, September 7, 8:15 a.m.
Saint Clement Monday, September 7, 9:00 a.m.