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Saintly Connections: Weekly Message for 10-25-16
Dear Fellow Digital Pilgrim, pax Christi:
I have mentioned this before, but in the wake of our recent pilgrimage to Rome, it is on my heart once again and I can’t help repeating myself. Personally, having time to visit prayerfully the holy sites in the Eternal City filled me anew with wonder and amazement at the simple fact that as a baptized Catholic, I am part of an amazing story. We all are. We are all part of the Story of Salvation, of God’s rescuing the fallen world and redeeming it. We are receiving that redeeming grace, and we are also helping to spread it to others. Our older brothers and sisters in the faith who walked those Roman streets two thousands years ago and built those magnificent basilicas and gave their lives during the persecutions – their story is our story. We are connected.
That connection, and how it transcends time and space, is one of the themes I explore in our newest Year of Mercy Retreat Guide, Fire of Mercy: A Retreat Guide on All Saints Day and All Souls Day. It deals with some difficult topics, like Purgatory and the Four Last Things. But it helps put them in context of this amazing Story of Salvation that we are all a part of. I know you will like it. I hope you are able to watch it – or listen to it, or read it – as those holy days approach.
The Four Last Things (death, judgement, heaven, and hell) used to be common topics in Catholic communities, parishes, and families. But now in the twenty-first century, in our increasingly secularized western culture, it’s becoming harder and harder for us to take seriously the more transcendent realities. Our minds tend to be filled with earthly concerns, with the here and now. But the true meaning of those here-and-now realities can only be found in light of eternity. That’s why God has revealed to us so much about the Four Last Things. And that’s why we all need to make time to think and pray deeply over these revealed truths, which are all connected to God’s infinite mercy.
We recently heard about a Catholic couple who regularly uses our Retreat Guides to give ongoing formation to the men and women who serve in various capacities (religious education, marriage preparation, etc.) at their parish. They watch the videos and discuss the questions together, and weave in time for personal reflection and silent prayer. Our sincere hope as this Jubilee Year of Mercy draws toward its close is that more and more people will do the same. That, we sincerely believe, is the only long-term way to re-christianize culture: by bringing the truths Jesus came to reveal into contact with the daily lives of those he came to save – one person, one family, one parish at a time. RCSpirituality is committed to doing our part to make that happen.
God bless you!
Sincerely in Christ,
John Bartunek, LC, SThD