The Flame: September/October 2019
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
It has been a little less than two months since many of us
participated in CRM's annual conference, this year entitled
Arise and Be Healed!
It was a wonderful time of worship,
teaching and encountering the Lord Jesus in the power of
the Holy Spirit. Many people met Jesus on a deeper level
and many people were healed. I am grateful for our
speakers, our volunteers and our conference committee
for their labor of love in serving this conference.
These kinds of conferences put us in touch with the deeper
reality that always surrounds us but is not as readily
perceptible. There are two responses to these sorts of peak
experiences. We can go looking for more and better
religious experiences. Or we can file the "conference
experience" in the "happy memory" bin in our brain along
with Disneyworld and other vacations. Neither of these
approaches is good.
Seeking religious experiences can lead us to desire the
experience more than the Lord. Though the deeper reality
always surrounds us, we walk by faith. We do not always
have goosebumps. Seeking religious experiences could
easily lead us to disappointments or worse. Religious
experience seeking without discernment can lead to occult
or toxic religious practices.
On the other hand, charismatic conferences and personal
encounters with the Lord ought not to become happy
memories without a connection to daily life. Our goal is to
become mature disciples of Jesus Christ.
experiences are to be transformative that keep us walking
by faith with the Lord, whether we are energized or a bit
weary. We want to live for Christ the way he died for us,
becoming a total gift of self to the Father.
A brother priest named Fr. Von DeRosia, includes three
short quotes of St. Therese of Lisieux at the bottom of his
emails. They read: To ecstasy, I prefer the monotony of
sacrifice. To remain little is to recognize our nothingness.
Sacrifice is the food of love.
Very challenging words from a
Doctor of the Church!
To prefer the monotony of sacrifice over ecstasy.
I think St.
Therese was acutely aware that our love for the Lord is
revealed through our day to day hidden service of God's
people. Our sacrifices, hidden and unglamorous, mean
more than our religious experiences. Our power encounters
with the Lord ought to inspire us to be faithful to Him in
both our public and hidden lives.
To remain little gives us a true perspective on life.
we are unknown or well known to the world, before God,
we are nothing. The amazing thing about life is that God
so loved us that he gave his Son Jesus Christ for us! Taking
on our "nothingness", he imbues us with a dignity beyond
our reckoning. Apart from Christ we can do nothing (see
John 15:5) but in Christ we can do all things! (see Philippians
That sacrifice is the food of love
reminds us of how Jesus
lived. His sacrifice is the full revelation of love, and in an
amazing mystery, becomes our food every time we
celebrate the Eucharist. By embracing the sacrifices of
being a disciple, our love for the Lord grows stronger.
Sacrifices willingly embraced nourish our relationship with
St. Paul wrote to the Church at Colossae these words:
"…to whom God chose to make known the riches of
the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; it is
Christ in you, the hope for glory. It is he whom we
proclaim, admonishing everyone and teaching
everyone with all wisdom, that we may present
everyone perfect in Christ. For this I labor and
struggle in accord with the exercise of his power
working within me." (Colossians 1:27-29)
The word perfect in this context means mature or finished.
It refers to the end product. This is our goal: to become
mature in Jesus Christ.
Let us strive for this kind of maturity. By God's grace, we
will be transformed into that same image from glory to
glory, as from the Lord who is the Spirit
. (II Corinthians 3:18).
That image is Jesus Christ.
Fr. Bob Franco
Fr. Bob Franco
Bishop’s Delegate to Catholic Renewal Ministries