Pastor's Message for April
Last month I was speaking with one of our volunteers about the “Best Lent Ever” program and he told me of an epiphany that he had during the early days of that program. He defined epiphany ‘as a moment of sudden or great revelation that usually changes you in some way.’ One week he and his wife happened to speak with five family members and friends, all of whom were non-practicing Catholics, that were all going through a period of crisis in their lives. A mother who was struggling with health issues, a teenager that was struggling with severe anxiety, another teenager who was depressed and living in his parent’s basement, a life long friend recently diagnosed with a chronic and debilitating condition, and another friend whose son suffers from serious drug addiction. None of them appeared to be coping particularly well with the crisis that had confronted them. In the spirit of Matthew Kelly’s “Holy Moments”, they asked themselves ‘what could they and the Church do to help’?
Their first thought was maybe they could help them to connect with the best medical and psychological professionals available. Well it turns out that our publicly funded health care system had already been doing a pretty good job of that. Their next thought was that maybe our Church could offer seminars on how to better deal with anxiety and depression, how to cope with chronic illness and how to manage the day to day reality of having a loved one who suffers from drug addiction. They could see how this might help but, since they were no longer attending Church, how would they even know about it?
It was here that the epiphany occurred. Might their family members and friends be better able to cope with the challenges that life was throwing at them if their faith was more deeply rooted in their life? It was at that time that I met with the Parishioner and we talked abut how being a practicing Catholic might help these individuals.
We quickly came up with five potential benefits:
- Faith Reduces Stress.
- Church Community Improves Emotional Health
- Faith Encourages Healthy Behaviour
- Helping Others Makes Life More Satisfying
- Believing in Jesus Opens the Path to Miracles
Given these great potential benefits, the obvious next question was, how do we present this good news to our family members and our friends in a way that will bring them back to faith in Jesus and participation in the Church? I suggested that the answer will be different for everyone, but it always has two main components. The first is being there for them and the second is providing a good example to them of what is possible. Blaise Pascal, Bishop Barron and other great evangelists through the centuries all agree that people are brought back to faith in Jesus Christ by truth, goodness, and beauty. We must be able to show that our Christian beliefs are true and not contrary to reason, demonstrate by our lives that being a Catholic is good and attractive, and make it clear that this way is available to all who seek it. And finally, I asked, “are you prepared to accompany them on this journey back to faith?”
What about you, are you open to a personal epiphany this Lent and Easter?
May God bless you and those that you love. Father Titus