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Love is Our Mission! – Weekly Message for September 22, 2015
Dear Friends in Christ:
Guess who’s coming to town this week? Today we begin the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, as we await Pope Francis’ arrival to the United States. The air is filled with enthusiasm, joy, and anticipation, similar to the excitement one experiences at World Youth Day or a Papal audience in St. Peter’s square.
But there is something more here than just the energy of an enormous crowd. It is the presence of the Holy Spirit, uniting us in love as one family of God. After all, thousands of the faithful are gathering with hearts, minds, and ears open to encountering the Spirit of the Lord, who is present when just “two or more are gathered in his name.”
The truth that we belong to God’s family is what we celebrate this week. We will deepen our understanding of this truth at the World Meeting of Families, and explore ways that we can witness to this reality more effectively.
Not everyone can travel to this great celebration of the Church family, but you don’t need to be in Philadelphia to be there in spirit! Here are ways you can prepare your heart and mind to experience this special week of the Pope’s visit to America.
First, take time this week to contemplate the theme of the Papal visit, “Love is Our Mission.” This phrase strikes at the core of our Christian vocation, to love one another as Christ has loved us. Our mission as Catholics is to go into the world as apostles to our neighbors, serving them with love, offering the gift of our very selves.
A well-known passage from 1 Corinthians describes real love in a way that challenges us to greater purity and generosity in our mission to love:
“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13: 4-7)
Second, deepen your appreciation of the heritage and origin of the Papacy through the Retreat Guide Built to Last. The reflections will bring to your attention key passages from scripture and spiritual fathers that reveal God’s plan in providing a hierarchical structure for the Church. This Retreat Guide will help you to appreciate the grace available to all of us in our own human weakness, while understanding more fully the storehouse of grace reserved for the Vicar of Christ.
The quiet time of reflection offered by the Retreat Guide is a great way to maintain a supernatural perspective as you encounter secular media coverage of the Pope’s visit. I also invite you to share this Retreat Guide with friends who might misunderstand the papacy, or who might view the Pope’s persona from a human perspective only. This week offers a prime opportunity to share with friends and family a moment of spiritual formation about our Catholic faith, especially regarding the Pope’s role in providing stability and strength to the Church.
Finally, I invite you to unite with us in prayer. Please pray for a renewed witness within the Church to Christ’s teachings on marriage and the family. Intercede as prayer warriors for our country, for Pope Francis and his intentions, and for all the faithful gathered around him.
Thank you for joining our efforts to evangelize the digital continent. Please know that my prayers are with you and that the team at RC Spirituality values your support, both spiritual and material.
Keep a look out for updates via Facebook of our days in Philadelphia with Pope Francis. I’m excited to share the experience with you!
Director, RC Spirituality