1 When I came to you, my friends, to preach God’s secret truth, I did not use big words and great learning. 2 For while I was with you, I made up my mind to forget everything except Jesus Christ and especially his death on the cross. 3 So when I came to you, I was weak and trembled all over with fear, 4 and my teaching and message were not delivered with skillful words of human wisdom, but with convincing proof of the power of God’s Spirit. 5 Your faith, then, does not rest on human wisdom but on God’s power. 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 (TEV)
It is, therefore, an inherent right of the Church to have at its disposal and to employ any of these media insofar as they are necessary or useful for the instruction of Christians and all its efforts for the welfare of souls. It is the duty of Pastors to instruct and guide the faithful so that they, with the help of these same media, may further the salvation and perfection of themselves and of the entire human family. In addition, the laity especially must strive to instill a human and Christian spirit into these media, so that they may fully measure up to the great expectations of mankind and to God’s design.
Yesterday I watched the some of the Patriots press conferences. It started with the coach, then moved to Tom Brady, then Danny Amendola. They were absolutely hilarious, because the reporters kept asking the same questions over and over again, hoping to get a different answer, some great admission about the state of Tom Brady’s hand, and whether he will play Sunday or not.
As they answered them, the press got more and more frustrated, even to the point of asking the Coach if the decision to play Tom Brady will be a game time decision. The coach shrugged his shoulders and said, “It’s Friday,” meaning how will he know if it will be a game time decision, if it isn’t game time. Brady and Amendola both gave similar answers, though you could tell they hadn’t quite perfected the flat affect of the Coach.
As I was thinking about that, I thought about the church. We get as distracted as the press corps did, as we create this moral crusade and that moral crusade, and even crusades against moral crusades! Yesterday I saw some ministers argue about who spoke at a pro-life event with such hostility that they looked like they would take each others life!
We need to learn from the Coach, and from St Paul, and in regards to the media, to a document written 50 years ago during Vatican II. We need to know, and present Christ, our hope,to use what we’ve been given in social media for the welfare of souls. (Or to use another phrase, the cure of souls) To see people know God’s mercy, to receive the forgiveness of their sin, to be cleansed of all unrighteousness, to be reconciled to God.
Reconciliation, the revealing of God’s mercy and forgiveness is our job, much as winning football games is the Coach’s job. It is the word we preach, it is the sacrament we administer. It is the reason we do what we do, and the reason we can do what we do!
To help people have faith in God, to help them depend on His mercy, to count on His love for them. That changes everything, it is at that point, when it is revealed, that the victory happens, when the party, even including heaven begins.
This is what we do, this is what we are called to be, walking with God, sharing in His mission. Whether in real life or in social media.
Lord have mercy on us, and walk with us, as we do our job…. AMEN!
Catholic Church. “Decree on the Media of Social Communications: Inter Mirifica.” Vatican II Documents. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2011. Print.
Devotional Thought of the Day
17 God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind. 18 So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. 19 This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. 20 Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek. (Hebrews 6:17-20
122 You find yourself in a position which seems rather strange: on the one hand, you feel fainthearted, as you look inwards; on the other, sure, encouraged, as you look upwards. Don’t worry: it is a sign that you are beginning to know yourself better and— more importantly!—that you are beginning to know Him better. (1)
As things get more expensive, the ability of most churches to have sufficient staff that is compensated for their work has decreased dramatically. Where there might have been a couple of pastors, a youth worker and secretarial staff of 2 30 years ago, is now down to a full-time pastor, and maybe a part support person or two. Sometimes the pastor is blessed with a large amount of volunteer staff, but to train them and still be responsible for their ministry, adds to the burden.
It is no surprise that pastors, ministers, priests and the others who “minister” at the church burn out. Or simply get too weary to do things effectively. For a pastor putting in a sixty hour a week (or more) or a volunteer putting in 15-20 hours after their full-time job, weariness becomes a way of life, a pattern that seems unbreakable.
St. Josemaria’s words hit home to those in those periods of life. We look inwards and wonder how we will keep going. How can we do our job, not just passably, but well. After all, our ministry does have an importance like no other. It is not just a life or death situation, it is now and eternally a life or death/hell issue. So when we fall asleep on the job, what do we do?
We look up, we run to God for refuge, We find in Him our anchor for our souls. And anchor that pulls us into the Holiest of Holy places, into the presence of God Himself.
And this holy place, this sanctuary, this place where God dwells becomes our life. Because the Holy Spirit is given to us, we become that holiest place, Our feet are standing on Holy Ground because we are there. We find know His presence, exult in it. Which is why the letter of Hebrews talks about encouraging each other, helping each other, coming alongside and reminding us that God comes alongside us.
It is there, in the second someone says, “and also with you” as you share with them the Lord’s presence in their lives, that we find the strength. And the weariness fades long enough to drive home, and rest in His peace.
This is ministry… empowered by God… dwelling in His presence.. bringing Him to others who need to know that.
(1) Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). Furrow (Kindle Locations 702-705). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Devotional Thought of the Day
3 For we remember before our God and Father how you put your faith into practice, how your love made you work so hard, and how your hope in our Lord Jesus Christ is firm. 1 Thessalonians 1:3 (TEV)
9 The servant does not deserve thanks for obeying orders, does he? 10 It is the same with you; when you have done all you have been told to do, say, ‘We are ordinary servants; we have only done our duty.’ ” Luke 17:9-10 (TEV)
12 We pleaded with you, encouraged you, and urged you to live your lives in a way that God would consider worthy. For he called you to share in his Kingdom and glory.(1 Th 2:12 NLT)
92 Every Christian has the duty to bring peace and joy to his own surroundings on earth. This cheerful crusade of manliness will move even shrivelled or rotten hearts, and raise them to God. (1)
“Do your job” – Bill Belichick
This week a couple of Patriots players commented that their coach rarely compliments people, and that when he does, it really really means something to them. It’s not just someone trying to be nice, or trying to motivate them, the praise is sincere and they are worthy of it. They might not even think what they did was that noteworthy, but Coach noticed it. Often it is just that they obeyed his instructions to “Do your job.”
Some people make a big deal of living a life in tune with Jesus, reflecting his love Some will argue that such is a mandate, that we aren’t saved unless we reach that level of perfection. Others will point out that it is wrong to tie works to salvation, works to being required to have faith. They are so afraid that people would think they saved themselves that to teach anything as what we should do puts them into a frenzied panic.
Yet we don’t see that in the writings of St. Paul to the churches, especially this church in Thessalonika. We see a prayer that encourages and applauds living life in harmony with Jesus. We see Paul plead with people freed from the Old Covenant Law to live a life in a manner consistent with what God created and recreated them to be. It is the understanding St. Josemaria had when he talked of our joy and peace transforming even the most shrivelled of hearts.
It is simply what we do. It is a response to God asking us to “do our job.”
Do what you are created to do. It’s not miraculous, though it requires a supernatural dependence on the mercy of God. It is not special, it is just ordinary. It is serving, ministering to the needs of those God puts in our path. And the more time we spend with Jesus, the more it becomes, unnoticed. It is just our life, and we encounter it with the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life!
This is the life described in Romans 12, and 1 Corinthians 12-14. A life lived, affected deeply, far more than just consciously by God’s work in our baptism, and in those times where we commune with Jesus’ Body and Blood. When we are in awe of His love and His presence, when the Spirit has us focusing on Him, there is a mystical transformation that occurs, as God conforms us into His image.
And so we pray, and plead with you, do your job, confident that God will work in you, even as He planned.
So go, “do your job!”
(1) Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). Furrow (Kindle Locations 599-601). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.