Reconnecting: Weekly Message for 7-11-17

Dear Fellow Digital Pilgrim, Pax Christi:

My favorite secular holiday, ever since I was a kid, has always been July 4th. I love the patriotism, the flags and parades, the cook-outs and the fireworks. Above all, even from a young age, I loved feeling myself part of a wonderful story that was still unfolding, the story of a “new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal,” as Abraham Lincoln put it.

I still love the Fourth of July. But my journey of faith has also opened up horizons that I had no idea even existed.  I now know, as we all do, that our nation didn’t spring from a vacuum. It was part of the unfolding of a civilization whose deepest roots are in the Christian faith. To be a Catholic, in fact, is to have a special kind of dual citizenship. We are citizens of our earthly countries right now, and we are also members of a community of believers reaching back through the past twenty centuries and forward into eternity: our deeper, everlasting “citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20).

It’s not always easy to live each of these realities to the full. We often feel the tug of contradictions that come from being in this world but not fully of this world. For guidance on how to be faithful citizens of both this world and the next, we can always look to our older brothers and sisters who did it right: the saints.

A few years ago, I discovered another July holiday that has quickly become another one of my favorites: July 14th, the feast day of the first Native American from North America to be canonized, St. Kateri Tekakwitha. (In fairness, I should mention that Canada celebrates her feast day earlier in the year, on April 17th.) This month’s Retreat Guide, A Virgin’s Courage, explores St. Kateri’s spiritual journey. It was an absolute joy to write, and a delight to film.  Every single time I think about St. Kateri, I am encouraged and inspired. I hope that by using the Retreat Guide, you will find out why.

In the meantime, we will keep praying with and for all of our digital pilgrims and digital missionaries, asking the Lord to send us the wisdom and counsel of his Holy Spirit so that as the adventure of our lives unfolds day by day, will be faithful and fruitful citizens of this world, and of the next.

Thank you and God bless you!

In Him,
Fr. John Bartunek, LC S.Th.D.

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