A Letter from Fr. Paul - May 17
Thank you to all who continue their support of the parish through electronic giving, mailing in their envelopes, or dropping the envelopes off in the black box outside the parish office. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it and how helpful it is to our community. Also, if there is any way the parish or I can help you as we struggle through this pandemic, please don’t hesitate to ask.
When we return to some kind of “normal,” we will need to discern one trustee and three pastoral council members. Please reflect if you are able to serve in one of these capacities, and if so, let me know. Reflect also on whom you might like to nominate. Thank you.
Why do we follow God’s commandments and rules? What is our motivation?
When I was a child, I did what my parents wanted me to do out of fear. I did not want to be punished. I obeyed the rules because I didn’t want extra housework, I didn’t want to be grounded, etc. As I grew older and out from under their control, maybe my motives for “following the rules” changed and maybe they didn’t. I still might obey the traffic laws because I don’t want a ticket or my license taken away. Or I might have internalized that obeying the traffic laws is the right thing to do to keep myself and others safe. If we examined our lives and actions, I bet we would find a blend of the two motives: fear and/or doing what is best for me and for others.
In our Gospel Jesus tells us that the best motive for keeping His commandments is love. Not fear of punishment like a small child but love. If you love me, you will keep my commandments. One challenge in our spiritual journey is to grow from being a Christian out of fear to being a Christian out of love. It isn’t easy.
Why don’t I steal things that will make my life better when I know I won’t be caught? Is it for fear of a harsh judgment when I die? Or is it out of respect for the rightful owner?
Why do I do my best to observe the sixth commandment? Is it for fear of a harsh judgment when I die? Or is it out of respect for myself and others?
Why do I participate in Mass on Sundays and holy days? Is it for fear of a harsh judgment when I die? Or is it in gratitude to the God who made me and has given me all I have?
I repeat what I said above: If we examined our lives and actions, I bet we would find a blend of the two motives: fear and/or doing what is best for me and for others. Spiritual growth involves growing in our ability to do what is right out of love, not fear. I invite us this week to reflect: how much am I driven by fear? How much by love? How can I grow to be more motivated by love? And let us support each other in prayer.
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