Father's Corner

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Holy Week and the Passion of Christ

03-29-2015Father's CornerFr. Will Schmid

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The passion of Christ is an important celebration for us as Catholics. In particular, it does two things for us. First, it reminds us of how much Christ loves us. Every time we come into the Church and see the crucifix we are reminded of how far Christ will go to forgive our sins. Christ's favorite thing to do is forgive sins. We know this by the cross. The Cross stands as the sign of the incredible love that God has for humanity.

Second, the passion of Christ is important because it shows us the way that God wants us to love Him in return. God gave His life for us and He wants us to give our lives to Him in return. Christ held nothing back from us, yet we continue to hold things back from Him all the time. Discipleship with Christ is about giving ourselves completely to Christ as He has given himself completely to us.

Today, we begin Holy Week. Holy Week should be a time for us to focus on how Christ has been faithful to us, and how we have been unfaithful to him. It should be an opportunity for authentic conversion. It should be an opportunity for us to apologize to Christ in the Sacrament of Confession and ask for the strength to be better disciples. This week, we will be having confession Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings from 9:00 am until 12:00 pm. If you haven't had a chance to come to confession yet this Lent, I highly encourage you to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity. Christ is waiting for you in this beautiful Sacrament of forgiveness.

Holy Week focuses on the intensity of God's love and offers us a chance to renew our faith in Christ and His Church. Let us pray together that this celebration of Passion Sunday will change our lives. Too often we take our faith for granted. For many of us, our Catholic faith is just another thing that we do. Yet, Christ's death on the cross is not just another thing. It is the greatest act of love that the world has ever seen. Christ died for your sins. How will you respond to this great love?

Peace in Christ,
Fr. Will

Annunciation

03-22-2015Father's CornerFr. Will Schmid

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

On Wednesday, March 25th we celebrate the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, remembering the great news that was delivered by the archangel Gabriel to the Blessed Virgin Mary that she would bear a son who would become the Savior of the world. This is a great celebration for us during the Lenten season for two reasons.

First, Mary's reaction to St. Gabriel's message is a reminder to us of why we undergo penitential practices during the season of Lent. We embrace acts of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving during Lent so that we are prepared in both body and soul to respond to the Lord in the same manner as the Blessed Mother. Increased prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are tried and true ways of forming our bodies and souls to focus on transcendent realities. In other words, they help us see the invisible God at work in our lives and they help us to say "yes" to God's plan for our lives.

Second, the celebration of the Annunciation is held exactly nine months before the celebration of the birth of Christ to help articulate the biological fact that human life begins at conception. Jesus entered into the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary the moment she said "yes" to God's proposal. The "Incarnation" does not find its origin in the Nativity, but in the Annunciation. This is wh y every Lent we celebrate the "40 Days for Life" campaign. It is an opportunity for us to celebrate the gift of human life, which our Lord lived in its fullness, and to pray for an end to abortion. Lent is a celebration of life, in particular, the life of Christ. Lent is an excellent time to celebrate the gift of human life, which Christ reveals to us in its fullness.

This Friday, March 27th , I will be spending an hour with other St. Mary Magdalene parishioners in front of a local Planned Parenthood praying for a greater respect for the dignity of human life. In particular, we will be praying for the many pregnant mot hers who feel lost and broken and are afraid to support the life that dwells within them. My hope is that our prayerful witness to life will inspire these mothers to say "yes" to their babies as Mary said "yes" to her son. Please prayerfully consider joining us in thi s holy Lenten campaign.

Peace in Christ,
Fr. Will

The Proper Worship of God

03-15-2015Father's CornerFr. Will Schmid

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In today's first reading (2 Chronicles 36:14-16, 19-23), we hear how improper Temple worship, and Israel's act of ignoring the prophets who called for a return to proper Temple worship, were the spiritual causes of the Babylonian Exile. In other words, God allowed His people to be exiled because they refused to follow His commands, specifically the ones pertaining to worship.

The proper worship of God was at the very heart of the Jewish faith and continues to be at the very heart of

our Catholic faith. God has blessed us with so many incredible gifts. It is only right and just that we thank Him for these gifts. Our worship of Him is our way of thanking Him. However, since our ability to give God thanks is limited, God Himself has given us the Eucharist as a means to properly thank Him. Only God Himself can teach us how to give proper thanks to God. This is why the Mass must be celebrated with great respect and reverence.

Lent is a great time to renew our worship of God. It is a holy season for us to ask ourselves the following questions:

  • Do I attend Mass every Sunday?
  • Do I prepare myself for Mass? How?
  • Do I give myself adequate time to prepare physically and spiritually for the Mass?
  • Do I make a conscious effort to avoid distractions while at Mass?
  • Do I turn off my cell phone or do I find excuses to look at my phone during Mass?
  • Do I pay attention to the readings at Mass or do I allow myself to daydream?
  • Do I listen to the priest's homily or do I make up an excuse to tune him out?
  • Do I give the presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist proper reverence?
  • Do I attempt to stay focused during the Eucharistic prayer or do I constantly move around?
  • Do I allow my kids to get up and use the restroom or walk around during the holiest moment of the Mass?
  • Do I irreverently receive Holy Communion?
  • Do I go to confession regularly so as to receive communion in a state of grace?
  • Do I ignore the importance of the final blessing and leave Mass early?

1 and 2 Chronicles reminds us that properly worshipping God is important because our destiny as human beings is intimately linked to it. May this Lenten season be one where we more devoutly and reverently worship our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Peace in Christ,
Fr. Will

Zeal for the Lord

03-08-2015Father's CornerFr. Will Schmid

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As many of you already know, I enjoy movies. In particular, I am a fan of comic book superhero movies. I especially enjoy superhero movies that explain the origin of a superhero's story and how they learned to develop and control their super powers. I enjoy these types of movies because I think they provide a good image for us to better understand our own powers and passions.

Each human person has various passions. These passions are like super powers. We must learn to control them or they will end up controlling us. Zeal is one of these powers. Zeal is a passion that can lead a per- son into heroic action. However, unfocused and uncontrolled zeal can lead to disaster.

In today's Gospel (John 2:13-25), Jesus uses the passion of zeal to drive out the money changers from the temple. Jesus uses His zeal to enact proper justice. Jesus does not hate the money changers. He loves them. However, He is angry with them, He knows that they do not belong in the temple, and He uses His zeal to drive them out. They were making a mockery of God's house. This was a serious offense that deserved our Lord's aggressive response.

Just like a superhero, we have to learn to develop and control our passions. St. Thomas Aquinas reminds us that anger is often the natural response to an injustice. Anger becomes sinful when it is improperly ordered. Right reason helps us properly order our anger so that it is always righteous and never sinful. Zeal helps us respond to an injustice with the appropriate amount of intensity, avoiding sinful anger.

Here are some good questions for us to ask in the face of anger and injustice:

  • What exactly am I angry about?
  • Am I angry because my pride has been wounded or because there is a legitimate injustice?
  • How serious is the injustice?
  • Does the seriousness of the injustice warrant a response?
  • Am I the proper person to respond or does the appropriate response belong to another?
  • Does the intensity of my anger match the seriousness of the injustice?
  • Is my proposed response ordered toward justice and reconciliation, or revenge?
  • How can I exercise this response with the appropriate amount of zeal?

May we learn from our Lord Jesus Christ to properly order and control our passions so that we can always respond with justice and be "superheroes" for the Gospel.

Peace in Christ,
Fr. Will

The Transfiguration and Lent

03-01-2015Father's CornerFr. Will Schmid

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

At first it seems a bit odd that the Church would give us today's Gospel (Mark 9:2-10) in Lent. After all, the Transfiguration is a Gospel passage of glory and resurrection, not one of penance. However, contrary to our initial perception, the Transfiguration is a fantastic Lenten Gospel.

First, the Transfiguration reminds us of the reason behind our Lenten penances. We are entering into intense prayer, fasting, and almsgiving because we long for the glory of the Resurrection. We do not suffer the Cross for its own sake, but for the sake of what it leads to. Jesus gives Peter, James, and John a glimpse of the Resurrection as a sign of hope for their future suffering. With Christ, they will suffer greatly. The Transfiguration will be a point of reference for them in the midst of their sufferings, reminding them to have the hope of the Resurrection.

Second, in the Transfiguration, Peter makes a critical blunder that many of us also often make. After Peter sees Jesus speaking with Moses and Elijah, Peter wants to build a dwelling place so as to remain in the present glory. Essentially, what Peter wants is eternal glory without suffering, without the Cross. Peter wants to make a transient moment his eternal home. How many times have we made the same mistake?

Lent is a season where we remind ourselves that we are a pilgrim people. This world is not our home. Our Lenten penances remind us of this truth. Today's Gospel tells that we cannot make this transient world our eternal home. Worldly glory is not enough for us. We cannot make it the end and purpose of our life. We must follow Jesus on the via dolorosa (the way of suffering). We must not make the same blunder as Peter.

May you continue to have courage during this holy season. If you have struggled with your penance, do not worry. Don't give up. Get right back to it.

Peace in Christ,
Fr. Will

Saints on Lent

02-22-2015Father's CornerFr. Will Schmid

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As we begin this Lenten season, here are some thought provoking quotes from the saints about sacred things pertaining to this holy season:

"Let each one deny himself some food, drink, or sleep, needless talking and idle jesting, and look forward to holy Easter with joy, and spiritual longing."
—St. Benedict

"Prayer is indispensible for persevering in pursuit of the good, indispensible for overcoming the trials life brings to man owing to his weakness. Prayer is strength for the weak and weakness for the strong.
—Pope Saint John Paul II

"When I was crossing into Gaza, I was asked at the checkpost whether I was carrying any weapons. I replied, Oh yes, my prayer books."
—Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

"Our heart is a garden in which wild and noxious weeds continue to grow. We must therefore have the hoe of mortification alwa ys in hand to remove this noxious growth, otherwise the garden will soon be choked with thorns and thistles."
—St. Alphonsus Liguori

"Say to your body: I would rather keep you in slavery than be myself your slave."
—St. Josemaria Escriva

"How many sins have entered into the soul through the eyes? That is why they must fast by keeping them lowered and not permitting them to look upon frivolous and unlawful objects; the ears, by depriving them of listening to vain talk which serves only to fill the mind with worldly images; the tongue, in not speaking idle words and those which savor of the world or the things of the world. We ought also to cut off useless thoughts, as well as vain memories and superfluous appetites and desires of our will. In short, we ought to hold in check all those things which keep us from loving or tending to the Sovereign Good."
—St. Francis de Sales

"Why should a sinner be ashamed to make known his sins, since they are already known and manifest to God, and to His angels, and even to the blessed in heaven? Confession delivers the soul from death. Confession opens the door to heaven. Confession brings us hope of salvation."
—St. Ambrose

Peace in Christ,
Fr. Will

What Should I Do for Lent?

02-15-2015Father's CornerFr. Will Schmid

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This week on Wednesday we begin the season of Lent. Lent is characterized by three particular penitential marks: Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving. As we prepare for this holy season, let us take a moment to reflect on these three important marks.

In her diary, Divine Mercy in My Soul, St. Maria Faustina wrote, "In whatever state the soul may be, it ought to pray. A soul pure and beautiful must pray, or else it will lose its beauty; a soul striving after purity must pray, or else it will never attain it; a soul newly converted must pray, or else it will fall again; a sinful soul, plunged in sins, must pray, or else it will never rise again." Prayer is an essential part of our discipleship with Jes us Christ. Each Lent we are given an opportunity to strengthen our prayer life. My suggestion for us this Lent is to take an hour each week in our St. Michael the Archangel Adoration Chapel. In addition to our regular Adoration hours, we will be having all night Adoration Wednesdays and Fridays during Lent. Please consider utilizing this opportunity to grow in prayer.

Fasting is often the forgotten Lenten penance. Many of us are ready to spend more time in prayer and even increase our tithing, but are terrified of giving up food. In Matthew 4:4, Jesus said, "Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." The truth about our humanity is that we hunger for more than mere physical food. Fasting is a beautiful way to remind ourselves of this great truth and to increase our hunger for spiritual food. This Lent, I strongly recommend the practice of fasting. One suggestion is to eat only bread and drink only water on Fridays. This is an intense practice, but one that often bears great spiritual fruit. However, it is important that we fast for spiritual purposes, not for worldly purposes. There are some who fast during Lent "to lose weight," so that they can fit into a summer bathing suit. Such fasting loses its spiritual value because it is done for a worldly purpose. Since it is done for vanity's sake, it only further invests a person in the glory of this life, not in the glory of the life to come.

Henri Nouwen in his book A Spirituality of Fundraising, wrote, "What is our security base? God or mammon? That is what Jesus would ask. He says that we cannot put our security in God and also in money. We have to make a choice…As long as our real trust is in money, we cannot be true members of the kingdom." St. Paul in his first letter to Timothy tells us, "The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil" (1 Tim. 6:10). Jesus reminds us in Matthew 6:21, "Wherever your treasure is, there will your heart be too." Almsgiving is a fantastic way for us to put our treasure in Jesus Christ and to fight against the evils of vanity, greed, and pride. It is a way for us to show that our security is in Him, not in the world. This Lent, I encourage each family to consider making an additional financial gift to one of our Catholic charitable organizations. St. Vincent de Paul is an excellent organization that would use your financial gift for serving Christ in the poor. An increased financial gift to the Diocesan Charity and Development Appeal (CDA) would also be a great way to show that your treasure is in the Gospel. These are merely a few examples of ways to grow in your relationship with Christ through almsgiving.

Whatever penitential practice you chose this Lent, my hope and prayer for all of you is that it is one that will bear great spiritual fruit in your life. Choose something that will push you beyond your comfort zone. Jesus Christ is worth the investment.

Peace in Christ, Fr. Will

The Importance of Silence

02-08-2015Father's CornerFr. Will Schmid

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

One of the greatest struggles in our current culture is the lack of silence. Every moment of the day seems to be filled with noise. Television, radio, Ipods, cell phones, video games, computers and all sorts of forms of social media are constantly pounding our ears, keeping us from the essential human need of silence and solitude.

The day I made the decision to make it a part of my regular daily routine to get up early and spend some time with the Lord in silence and solitude was one of the greatest decisions of my life. It has provided me with the peace I need to hear the voice of the Lord calling me into a deeper relationship with Him. Often times, the greatest moments of my day come from that quiet time I have with in prayer with Jesus.

St. Alphonsus Liguori once said, "Silence is one of the principal means to attain the spirit of prayer and to fit oneself for uninterrupted dialogue with God. It is hard to find a truly pious person who talks much. But they who have the spirit of prayer love silence, which has deservedly been called a protectress of innocence, a shield against temptations, and a fruitful source of prayer. Silence promotes recollection and awakens good thoughts in the heart."

Why do we allow so much noise in our lives? More often than not it is in the silence where we are able to hear the voice of the Lord. Why does silence bother us? What does silence stir up in my heart? Am I afraid of what it stirs up? If so, why am I afraid?

Silence is an essential part of discipleship with Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself gives us an example of this in today's Gospel ( Mark 1:29 -39). Finding time for silence will change your life. Here are a couple of examples of ways to create intentional silence:

  • Stop by the St. Michael the Archangel Adoration Chapel on your way home from work and spend 5 minutes in silence in front of Jesus. No book, no rosary, just Jesus. Simply be in His presence.
  • Turn off the radio in your car for part of your drive to work each morning.
  • With your family, take 30 seconds of silent prayer before eating dinner together.

At first silence will feel weird. That's normal. Everything new feels weird at first. However, over time it will prove to be an experience of great value. Trust me when I say, you won't regret it.

Peace in Christ,
Fr. Will

The Authority of Jesus Christ

02-01-2015Father's CornerFr. Will Schmid

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In today's first reading (Deuteronomy 18:15-20), Moses ensures the Israelites that God will never leave his people uninstructed. He ensures them that there will be another prophet like him who will speak with the same authority. In today's Gospel (Mark 1:21-28), we discover this prophet to whom Moses was referring: Jesus Christ. In today's Gospel, Jesus speaks with authority that surpasses even the authority of the scribes. Jesus' authority is so significant that even demons must obey his words.

Since Jesus is the Son of God, Jesus' words are spoken with the highest authority. His words are not mere suggestions, but are, as St. Peter reminds us in John's Gospel, the words of eternal life. Jesus' teachings continue today through the voice of the Church. Jesus promised that His teaching authority would continue on through His Apostles and their successors. This is what is known as Apostolic Succession. The magisterium (or the teaching office of the Church) continues to proclaim the Gospel with the authority of Jesus Christ. The magisterium offers the people of God clarity in the face of confusion. It ensures us of God's active teaching voice today. It promises us that God will never leave us uninstructed.

The question that arises for us in light of these readings is, "Are we open to the authority of Jesus Christ in and through His Church?" An openness to the authority of Jesus Christ implies an openness to being instructed by the Apostles who were chosen to carry on His teachings. This authority is not meant to enslave us, but to free us. It is given to the Apostles by Jesus Christ so that His people might always be free from sin, which is the true source of slavery.

We are so blessed to have a centralized teaching authority in our faith that brings clarity to difficult questions. Most faiths do not have such a gift. May we always respect and cherish this gift with the obedience that Jesus Christ's authority deserves.

Peace in Christ,
Fr. Will

Ordinary Time

01-25-2015Father's CornerFr. Will Schmid

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In today's Gospel (Mark 1:14-20), Jesus calls the disciples while performing their daily duties as fishermen. Often times in life we think that the Lord wants to call us in extraordinary ways. We hear the story of Exodus and we think that God desires to give us a burning bush in order to communicate His plan for our lives. It is easy for us to forget about today's Gospel and how Jesus calls the disciples in the ordinary events of daily life.

As disciples of Christ, we must never forget that God wants to be in relationship with us at every moment: when we are with our families, during our daily commute, while we are at work, etc… If we are open to the presence of God in our daily life, we will find that He has much to say to us. The beauty of the Catholic faith is its Sacramental worldview: the view that things are more than what they seem. Each and ever y daily act can be a visible sign of God's invisible grace, if only we are willing to open our hearts to Christ.

God took the skills of fishermen and reoriented them toward apostleship. God chose twelve ordinary men in the midst of ordinary life and called them to do something extraordinary. We do not need burning bushes to understand the call of Jesus Christ. We only need to offer up the many moments of our daily lives to Him and for His service. When we live life this way, we will see with clarity the living God at work in us.

Peace in Christ,
Fr. Will

What are you looking for?

01-18-2015Father's CornerFr. Will Schmid

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Often times we feel a strong desire to pray and to strengthen our relationship with Jesus Christ, but we aren't sure where to start. I believe that today's Gospel (John 1:35-42) is a fantastic starting point. In today's Gospel, Jesus asks the two disciples following Him a very important question: "What are you looking for?" I believe Christ is asking us this same question. What are you looking for? What is it that your heart longs for that has caused you to search for discipleship with Jesus? What is it that you believe Jesus Christ can offer you that no one else can? How many of us have set our lives on "cruise-control" and have forgotten the reason why we have set out on this journey with Christ and His Church? Meditating on the question of Jesus to the disciples is a great way to stop, slow down for a moment, and refocus on Jesus.

However, it is not only Jesus who asks a question in the Gospel, it is also the disciples who ask a question. In the Gospel, the disciples ask Jesus, "Where are you staying?" This is also a beautiful question worthy of meditation. Where is Christ in my life? Do I feel as if He is absent? If absent, where might He be? Is it He who is absent, or myself? Where must I go to find Him? Or, rather, where must I go so that He can find me? Where is Jesus leading me? How does that make me feel? What is keeping me from following Him to that destination? Again, these are beautiful questions worthy of meditation.

When someone comes to me for spiritual guidance or direction, this Gospel passage is usually where we begin. The spiritual life is about a relationship with God. We have to get to know Him by spending time with Him and engaging Him in conversation. Christ desires to have a deep relationship with us. He desires to ask us what we are looking for, and we desire to ask Him where He is staying. My hope and prayer for you this week is that you spend some time meditating on this passage. The Lord is invested in you and

He desires for you to be invested in Him.

Peace in Christ,
Fr. Will

Your Spiritual Birthday

01-11-2015Father's CornerFr. Will Schmid

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Today we celebrate the feast day of the Baptism of the Lord. In this celebration, God the Father reveals the mission of His Son to the world: the salvation of souls.

In today's Gospel (Mark 1:7-11), we hear that the Spirit of God descended upon Jesus in the form of a dove. The image of the dove is significant in Scripture. In the Old Testament, when a poor family could not afford a lamb to sacrifice as a sin offering, they were instructed to offer two turtledoves instead. In this way, even poor people could make a guilt offering on behalf of their sins. Matthew is drawing our attention to this detail in a beautiful way.

Baptism was already a religious practice before the arrival of Jesus. It was a religious ceremony of repentance. Jesus takes this religious practice and unites it to Himself and transforms it in such a way that it doesn't merely symbolize being cleansed, but actually cleanses us. As Catholics, we believe that Baptism isn't merely a delightful reminder of God's forgiveness, but actually forgives our sins. This is why it is so important.

Baptism is the gateway into the life of Christ, the life of the Church. It not only washes away Original Sin, but it also makes us capable of receiving the other Sacraments. This is why the Church needs to see an official up-to-date edition of someone's baptismal certificate prior to receiving the other Sacraments. It is through the water and spirit of Baptism that we are reborn into a new life with Christ.

On account of this, we should all celebrate our date of Baptism every year. We celebrate our physical birthday each year, why not celebrate our spiritual birthday? Is our spiritual birthday less important? I think not. In fact, Jesus would argue that it is the more important birthday.

This year, in honor of your spiritual birthday, find out your date of baptism, mark it on your calendar, and renew your baptismal promises. Use it as an opportunity to recommit yourself to Jesus Christ, the sacrificial lamb (and dove) who died for our sins.

Peace in Christ,
Fr. Will

What the Wise Men Found

01-04-2015Father's CornerFr. Will Schmid

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Today's Gospel (Matthew 2:1-12), when carefully reviewed, shows us how both faith and reason work together in the pursuit of truth. The Magi are considered to be "wise men." They are immersed in the wisdom of nature. They understand the laws of the universe and the truth communicated by the world around them. They are scientists, who examine and study the world in which they live. Their desire for a greater understanding of this truth led them to follow a star, a star which led them on a journey across the world. They were so compelled by their thirst for truth that they were willing to risk all that was familiar to them (their home countries and families) in order to pursue it. Risking safety and security, they followed that star all the way to Bethlehem: a tiny insignificant Jewish town translated as, "The house of Bread." They followed the course of nature, which brought them to a manger (a feeding trough); to a defenseless baby in his mother's arms. The star did not bring them to an all-powerful warrior God like those written about in Greek and Roman legends. It did not bring them to a scroll of wisdom containing the answer to every question ever asked. It did not bring them to the smallest particle upon which the entire universe was constructed. Instead, their scientific examination of the world brought them to the child Jesus.

But this was no ordinary child. This was the Word, the one through whom the whole world was created. This child was the meaning and purpose behind the entire universe. Pope Benedict XVI once said, "It is not the elemental spirits of the universe, the laws of matter, which ultimately govern the world and mankind, but a personal God governs the stars, that is, the universe; it is not the laws of matter and of evolution that have the final say, but reason, will, love – a Person." Science, in the story of the Magi, reaches its purpose, the force behind its search for truth, in an encounter with the child Jesus. The story of the Magi beautifully demonstrates to us that the destination of rational scientific inquiry and examination is an experience of Jesus Christ.

Yet, this experience of Christ does not destroy or obliterate the Magi's pursuit of truth and knowledge. Rather, the experience of Christ reorients them. It gives them a new direction. They do not remain with the child Jesus. Instead, they are given a new mission, a new journey. They are so transformed by the discovery of Christ that they cannot go back the same way from which they came. Christ has changed them. Yet, now they know the reason behind their quest for truth. They have seen the one through whom all things exist and they must continue on in their studies (their pursuit of knowledge). Even though Christ has reoriented their lives, he has not exhausted the mysteries that they love. Instead, he has given purpose to their quest. He has refueled their thirst for truth. He has given them an answer that neither nature alone, nor science alone, nor reason alone, could have given them.

Faith does not seek to destroy reason. Rather, faith seeks to liberate it; to free it so that it can flourish. Pope John Paul II once said, "Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth – in a word, to know Himself." There is a reason behind everything we do in our faith. We are not blind in our faith. Rather, our faith enables us to see things the way they were created to be seen. Through faith, we can see the world with particular meaning and purpose. Reason and science give life and substance to that meaning and purpose.

Those who lack faith live in a world of chance. Things are the way they are much like the way the roll of the dice gives us a random number. There is no meaning in that world. In that world science and reason are closed in on themselves. They are slaves. Don't enslave yourself to such a world. Live in the freedom of Christ. Be like the Magi. Allow God, and the great gift of reason that He has given you, to take you on a humble journey to Bethlehem, to an experience of the child Jesus. For it is only in an experience of Jesus Christ where you will find what you are searching for: the fullness of Life and Truth.

Peace in Christ,
Fr. Will