Thursday, January 26, 2012

Let God take the wheel

Theresa Montminy,

The hardest aspect of the Christian life is to learn to submit to God in all things.  His yoke is easy, but remembering to be bound by it is difficult.  We worship Him for His goodness, we thank Him for His love, we pledge to be His disciples, and we ask Him for His wisdom. All the while, the nuts and bolts of following Him are hard to grasp.  When it comes to making decisions, we still like our independence.

What is it about our independence that so intrigues us?  Why are we so captivated with our decision-making powers?  Why, even when we know that a sense of autonomy does not lead us to making peace with ourselves and others, do we insist on maintaining little pieces of it in various corners of our lives?  Why, when God tells us one thing and our internal compulsions tell us another, do we often choose the compulsions?  What does that say about our trust in God?

Making peace in our life is about trusting God and seeking to serve Him.  When we choose our own will over God’s, we’re mistrusting Him and trusting ourselves.  What an absurdity!  We forget the most basic of all biblical teachings ~ God’s will is in our best interest.

Are you convinced of that?  You cannot be at peace until you know deep down in your heart that His commands, even the hard ones, are ultimately for our benefit.  We can be sure that the best way to seek our own self-centered interests is to be entirely God-centered.  In this paradox, godliness and the self-life meet.  Or, as Jesus said; “Whoever loses his life will preserve it.”  Our happiness is deeper and richer when we listen to Him.

In that sense, it is a self-fulfilling act to forsake our own will and submit to His.  Submission seems so noble, but we have a lot at stake in it.  When we serve Him, we serve ourselves.  Believe that wholeheartedly, and see what happens.  Let us strive to serve God where He has planted us . . .  and, in that way we will find peace!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Commercial offers heartening perspective on our Church

By John Andrews
Director, Department of Communications

If you were watching the evening news or the NFL playoffs recently and a saw a dramatic commercial espousing the historic importance of the Catholic Church to western civilization, you might have done a double-take. This is not the usual silly beer commercial or glib car ad you expect in prime advertising slots.

The commercial was produced by Catholics Come Home, an organization that reaches out to the millions who were raised in the faith but no longer practice it. In fact, about 1 in 10 Americans fits into that category. At its conclusion the commercial beckons, “if you’ve been away from the Catholic Church we invite you to take another look.”

I hope the TV spot does, indeed, attract those who have been away from active participation in our faith. It is very well done and that kind of air time doesn’t come cheap, so a significant investment has been made in this campaign.

Beyond the target audience this commercial has a value for many who do practice our faith. It makes us feel good about being Catholic. In describing the Church, the commercial rolls out a list of credentials that is undeniably spectacular. It reminds us that the Church compiled the bible, started hospitals and orphanages, founded the college system, developed the scientific method and is the world’s largest charitable organization, among others. Our values – family, diversity, and the sacredness of all human life – are powerfully depicted.

On first viewing the commercial made me want to pump my fist or let out a “yeaahh!!!” A lot of times the stuff we see on TV about the Church is not so affirmative. As a guy whose ministry is to promote the good work of the Catholic Church in the media, this commercial is like manna from heaven. So I invite you to check it out at (or below).

I also invite you to look for those who may have been moved by the commercial to come back to our church. Welcome them with the warmth and hospitality that is a value of our diocese. Welcome them back to our big ‘ole family (over a billion of us, says the commercial).