The Flame: March & April 2006

Dear Readers of The Flame,

I sometimes begin wedding homilies with a “sing in the blank” format. Here are some of the songs. Perhaps you can figure out the missing word:

“What the world needs now is _____, sweet _____...”

“All you need is _____,…”

“_____ is a many splendored thing…”

These are not the most challenging blanks. The missing word is obviously love.

Perhaps that was part of the inspiration behind Pope Benedict XVI first encyclical Deus Caritas Est, which translates “God is Love.” The missing blank in our world is genuine love. With regard to God’s love the Pope says:

In a world where the name of God is sometimes associated with vengeance or even a duty of hatred and violence, the message is both timely and significant. (par. #1)

Regarding human love, the Pope uses two Greek words, eros (associated with sexual love) and agape (associated with selfless love) to highlight our modern confusion about love. Pope Benedict writes that love promises…

infinity, eternity-a reality far greater and totally other than our everyday existence. Yet we have also seen that the way to attain this goal is not simply submitting to instinct. Purification and growth in maturity are called for; and these pass through the path of renunciation. (par. #5) 

Where can we connect with God’s love? What is our guide to purified human love? The one word answer is Jesus! He taught the truth about love. He demonstrated love, divine and human, to its fullness. He is God Incarnate. He baptizes people in the Holy Spirit so that they may be empowered to live out and witness to the reality of God’s love. As the song by Scott Underwood says, It’s All About Jesus.

This May CRM is responding to the love of God in Jesus Christ by enlisting prayer groups throughout our diocese to put on simultaneous Life in the Spirit Seminars. Right now it looks as if the prayer groups from Our Lady of the Angels, St. John Bosco, and Sts. Comas and Damian will participate. A fourth seminar will be sponsored by CRM’s Fanning the Flame team at Presentation House at the Center for Pastoral Leadership in Wickliffe .

At our annual Pentecost Mass, this year at St. Michael Parish in Independence , we will gather together and pray that Jesus Christ will baptize in the Holy Spirit all who are participating in the Life in the Spirit Seminars.

As Catholic Christians, we are called to be part of the world’s solution. We are to reflect the love of the one true God. Pray that the collective efforts of the charismatic renewal in our diocese will make God’s love more tangible to the world. Our lives are to be the song that fills in the blank of life with genuine love

Depending on His love and yours,

Fr. Bob Franco