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From the Pastor 07/16/17

Part III on Faith and the Good Life from notes I took from both Fr. John Hardon, S.J. and Fr. Reginald Martin, O.P.

If we wonder how our Faith manifests itself, St. Thomas Aquinas replies that one of the first effects of Faith is to understand what happens if we turn away from God. This understanding results in fear ― fear of punishment, and fear of separation from God. Our faith allows us to see God’s infinite goodness, and it also makes us realize how much we sacrifice if we separate ourselves from this goodness. Indeed, Faith allows us to understand that separation from God is the greatest evil we can suffer.

But Faith also purifies our hearts, by turning us more and more toward God and more and more away from sin. As our reflections progress we will see that the virtues are connected to one another, and the virtue of Charity will appear over and over, as a catalyst that “speeds up” or deepens another good habit. The goal of human life is loving union with God, the union of Charity. As we grow in virtue, our love for God (which is itself a reflection of God’s love for us) makes us want to draw closer to the God we apprehend by Faith. In this way, the virtues work together to perfect one another.

Here we can see a natural parallel to our life of Faith. Baptism makes us part of a supernatural family, the Church. One of the reasons we call the Church “our Mother” is the Church’s task of teaching us and offering the other aids by which we grow to Christian maturity. In the course of our growth in Faith we learn many words. At some point we also learn that we do not believe in the words themselves, but in the realities they represent. Our Catechism makes a wonderful comparison between the vocation of human mothers and the Church: As a mother who teaches her children to speak and so to understand and communicate, the Church our Mother teaches us the language of faith in order to introduce us to the understanding and the life of faith (171).

As we grow and mature, human gifts enable us to succeed and excel. The human family of Jesus helped Him increase in wisdom and stature, and the Catechism remarks that the Church’s deposit of belief does the same for our life of Faith. “Believing,” it states, “is an ecclesial act. The Church’s faith precedes, engenders, supports and nourishes our faith. The Church is the mother of all believers” (181). The Catechism’s reflection concludes with words of St. Cyprian, “No one can have God as Father who does not have the Church as Mother.”

In the Mass, after we say the Our Father, the celebrant prays, “Lord Jesus Christ ... look not on our sins, but on the Faith of your Church” ... Belief in God is our first act of Faith. The Church’s faith enables us to build on this initial act, and to grow in what St. Jude, in his letter, calls “our common salvation” (Jude 3).

We cannot speak of the Church as our mother without considering the Mother of Jesus, whom we call “the Mother of the Church.” Mary stands for us, and wherever we encounter her in the gospel, the evangelist wants us to find ourselves. The habit we name the virtue of Faith enables us to surrender to a great deal that we could grasp in no way other than God’s revelation.

This surrender cannot always be easy, but we are not alone in being called to make it. Mary was there first. We can easily imagine the thousand questions that must have come to mind when Mary heard the angel’s proclamation that she was to become the Mother of God. We should likewise rejoice in the Faith that allowed her ― and teaches us ― to say, “behold the handmaid of the Lord.”

Sources:
The Meaning of Virtue in St. Thomas Aquinas, Fr. John Hardon, S.J. The Rosary Light & Life ─ Vol 62, No 5, Sep-Oct 2009, The Virtue of Faith, Father Reginald Martin, O.P.

I just received a thank you letter from the Little Sisters of the Poor for the annual collection we take up for these wonderful sisters.

Dear Father,
Thank you for allowing us to come to your parish the weekend of March 25-26. We thank you for the gift of $14,827.26 that we received from your parish! You truly have generous parishioners, and we are grateful for their support. As you know, our ability to provide a home and security for our elderly is made possible only through generous donations such as these.

For many years, the Little Sisters have visited your parish, and it is a double blessing for us. In addition to the generous support we receive, it is wonderful to join so many individuals and families in celebrating our faith in worship and to witness a joyful parish community.

Please express our thanks to all your parishioners and remind them of our prayers for their intentions. In a special way, we will pray for you, Father. We have contracted a debt of gratitude to you that only Our Lord can pay for us and we shall often remind Him of it.

With renewed thanks for your goodness to us, we ask God to abundantly bless you and all in your parish.

Sincerely yours,
Sr. Mary Sylvia, LSP Superior

A Blessed Week to All,
Rev. André-Joseph LaCasse, O.P., Pastor