Thursday, November 26, 2015

What is this love? It is Christ

This past Sunday, I returned to India to take care of my ailing mother. I had asked for a leave of absence from pastoral ministry starting in early 2016. Circumstances dictated that I advance that date a little. I left the parish with very little notice, and received an outpouring of love, support, prayers and sympathy, for which I am ever grateful. I'm most grateful to Archbishop Gregory, our Bishops and my pastor, for their generosity and kindness at this difficult time.

This is the message that I shared on my Facebook page, on Sunday.

Happy Thanksgiving!

"It is not good for man to be alone." (Gen 2:18) With these words, the Sacred Scriptures point to the destiny of the human person, that he is made for interpersonal communion.

In this life, we only get a foretaste of the intimacy that is the life of the Most Holy Trinity, which is the destiny of every human being. Married persons experience it in a particular and deep way, in their complete and total gift of self to each other, and the way that intimacy brings forth life -- in the children the Lord sends them, or in other ways in their lives. For us parish priests, a particular manifestation of that intimacy is the bond with our parish, our family. This weekend, I was reminded of just how deep that bond is.

We are made for a life of deep love, of communion, of loving and being loved, of knowing and being known. Our society has truly forgotten this, as we wall ourselves up in our individual bubbles, as we buy into that false promise that only by "expressing our self" do we truly find ourselves. Man truly finds himself only in a sincere gift of self, in giving himself away. "He who loses his life will find it."
My few short years at St. Joseph have underscored this truth of the Gospel. I am so grateful to this beautiful parish, to the numbers of dedicated souls, in love with the Lord, yearning to love God and neighbor more and more. Thank you. It aches me to leave so abruptly. The tears shed that I saw mean more to me than you realize.

What is this love? It is Christ -- it is the gift of the Son, returning all to the Father, in the Holy Spirit. We are meant for this kind of life. We are meant to live a companionship, to belong to each other. I thank the Lord for revealing that in a new way in my time with y'all.

Please God, our paths will cross again. Until then, we will be united in our faith, in our prayers, and in the mystery of communion that is the Holy Eucharist, the heart of the Church.


Jennifer Ambrose said...

Safe travels, Father.

catkins said...

I enjoyed reading this post once again and some of your other blog posts Father. I think of you often and pray for you more and miss you and your beautiful discipleship every day