Hello St. Francis,
So we are coming off a fabulous weekend at our church as we celebrated the feast of St. Francis De Sales. as I was looking around the Fellowship Hall, I noticed something. To me, at least, it seemed like a group of people from all walks of life, all nations, all political and social ideologies, from many diverse and beautiful cultures all sharing themselves with each other. It did not seem forced, it just seemed right. It is amazing what can happen when any group of people gather to celebrate their faith, their charism and their joy in the community they call home.
As our universal church evolves to be an open door welcoming community that we at St. Francis have already accomplished, and continue to accomplish, I think sometimes we get caught up in the fluffy "kumbaya" type stuff and sometimes forget that living the Christian life requires sacrifice and consistent leaps of faith. Isn't that one of the reasons we come to church? To be strengthened in our conviction and made courageous to live as we are called to. Also, isn't our time in church one that we are instructed and inspired in what that call is?
The Christian ideal is a vocation that calls us into mission. Put quite simply, a vocation is WHO YOU ARE not what you do. Our vocation has been given to us as a gift. For some, their vocation is a life devoted to God as a priest or religious. To others, its being a spouse and a parent. For some it is a career and for all it is a life centered in God's love. When we cherish and nurture our vocation, it inevitably leads us to fulfill the mission of that vocation. For all of us that is a little different, but for all of us it leads us back to our community, our church family, just like it did this past weekend; to worship and be strengthened in our mission.
Being a Christian is a radical, challenging and sometimes frustrating thing. So often we think that we are doing the right thing and the door is closed. So often, our prayers seem to go unanswered and so often, people who want the hearts full of joy and life full of love and laughter fall away when the reality of our world sets in. I know that to leave everything behind and follow Jesus is a "metaphor" but, isn't it true when we focus more intently on Jesus and less intently on the pleasures of this world that we receive more pleasure? It's almost like a surprise gift, you know the one you really need but would never get for yourself. The more radically I live my faith, my mission, the more willing I am to leave everything behind and follow Jesus, the clearer my life becomes. When my vision is clear, it is easier to see the person who is struggling who needs someone to help. When my vision is clear, it is easier to take the jumbled up things in my life and organize them into priorities. When my vision is clear, that is when I recognize the radical call and the road that I must travel. Because my vision becomes God's vision and that road only leads to good things.
So, be challenged, be frustrated, try and sometimes fail. It is all part of radical vocation we are called to. May we, live our mission courageously, knowing that there is a place for us to be strengthened and encouraged. Every time you walk into St. Francis, we journey with you, your mission becomes our mission and your joys, your struggles, your failures and your triumphs all are taken up by a group of people that love you. And then, when Jesus calls us to be salt and light, we will be ready to say "YES LORD" encouraged by a family that will always have your back.
Music for the weekend of February 5th