This Week in Prayer, Service & Community - Feb 10, 2017

Dear All: 
Christ’s Peace! 

This Week in Prayer

“Spiritual Chill-ability” – the ability to regain a sense of being peacefully connected with Jesus; the ability to return to the graced state of feeling spiritually chilled out after feeling spiritually agitated.

The myth of incompetence can keep us from feeling spiritually chilled out. It frequently leaves us feeling disconnected from Christ and the peace he wants us to feel. Who hasn’t heard the dark voice muttering “you cannot do the good God wants you to do”? It can be terribly discombobulating. 

Fortunately, God likes to help us resist that voice. God invites us to remember: “My call only takes you where my grace can hold you.” A slightly different version says: “If God calls me to it, then God helps me do it and God gets me through it.” That message comes through every one of Sunday’s readings.

In the first reading, from Isaiah 58, a very unsettling chapter, Isaiah tells the misguided people “Share your bread with the hungry, shelter the oppressed and the homeless; clothe the naked...remove from your midst oppression, false accusation and malicious.” Isaiah addressed this admonition to people who evidently doubted their ability to do the good God wanted them to do. We can only hope they knew deep down that, since God was asking them to do the good, God would enable them to do the good. That belief makes all the difference. It helps us to beat the myth of incompetence and to do God’s work.

The second reading, reveals Paul’s self-doubts. He tells the Christians of Corinth: “I came to you in weakness and fear and much trembling...not with persuasive words of wisdom.” Does that sound like someone who trusts completely in his own talents? It sounds more like someone who is fully aware of his limitations and who knows completely that God will show up in the places to which God has sent him.

The Gospel, from Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount, tells us that we are salt and light. It implies we can perform the duties of salt and light – to preserve and enhance life. Jesus includes no escape clauses. He doesn’t say “you are like salt and light” or “if you practice harder you will be more like salt and light.” No. He tells us we can do it now, as we are, in those places to which he sends us.

So what about you? Are there places in your life where the evil spirit is trying to convince you that you lack the ability to do the good God wants you to do? As a parent or as a spouse? As a student or as an athlete? As a priest who is a person of prayer? As a prophet called to challenge and console others? As a king called to build up the community? Of course we sometimes get ourselves tangled up in deals that have nothing to do with God and in which God does not intend to sustain us. But in those places where we are truly trying to cooperate with God, we sometimes need to recall: “If God calls me to it, God helps me do it and God gets me through it.” In what circumstances does Jesus want you to recall that? To defeat the myth of incompetence? To move further into the peace/spiritual chill only he can give?

This week in service:

  • Would that more parishioners could have observed all the inspired activity taking place here on Saturday morning – as the church rooms held planning sessions for the Ministry to Caretakers, the Pro-life Ministry, Becca’s Friends and the facilitators of the Bishop’s Annual Appeal. The amount of good being planned and recounted is “a wonder to behold.”

  • Remember, February is the month for ministry recruiting. Maybe walk slowly through the gathering space and wonder if the Holy Spirit might be nudging you to join or rejoin one of the ministries. The Altar Servers, very much into a successful rebuilding year, will be recruiting again this week. Thanks!

  • On February 11, our high school teens are spending a day performing Random Acts of Kindness all around Hillsborough.

This week in community:

Be sure to mark your calendars for the upcoming fellowship events. The posters and postcards in the gathering space list a gaggle of opportunities to come to church for pure fun. Two of those events occur within the next month:

  • BINGO! Yes, that Catholic social staple is back for one night only. February 17th will be Family Bingo Night! All proceeds will be donated to the youth group's 30 Hour Famine charities - World Vision, Elijah's Promise and S.H.I.P. Come have some fun and feed the hungry!

  • Nashville Christian Recording Artist PJ Anderson will be performing here on Saturday March 4th at 7pm. If you have been to one of PJ’s concerts you know how they lift your soul towards all that is good and holy. If you don’t already know that, come and experience it. 

Today’s snow day has been a double bonus. It gave us the day off and didn’t leave us with a mountain of snow to remove. I hope each of you was able to dig out without incident and was able to enjoy the day. And remember, the count for winter is now 49 days down and 41 days to go. We are over the hump! 

All best blessings.

Fr Hank