fTHERThe Flame: September/October 2011
Dear Readers of The Flame,

Pat is an active parishioner at my parish. He recently oversaw the annual BBQ Chicken Dinner at St. Peter’s.

Like many parish activities, it is more complex than it appears. There are the logistics of ordering food, assembling the barbeque pit, coordinating volunteers and working with the public. Pat does a great job, not only because he has the skills to organize the event, but he also has a great attitude. When Pat would encounter a trial or set back, his response would be “Another opportunity to excel!”

Would that we would approach our walk with Jesus that way! Actually, it is quite biblical.

"Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." (James 1:2-4) Trials hone our character in such a way that we demonstrate to the world the reality of our faith in Jesus Christ.
We live in trying times. On the one hand, we in the United States enjoy unprecedented freedom. On the other hand, there are many who have closed their minds to the truth of the gospel and to the idea of truth in general (except for scientific truth). This has led to a moral confusion and a kind of toleration that believes that almost any type of behavior is acceptable. About the only thing that is not tolerated is someone saying that there is moral and religious truth. The gospel meets with open doors but closed minds.read

This is not a unique situation. The New Testament uses the imagery of an open door to speak of the opportunities the early Church had to give witness to the faith. (Acts 14:27, I Corinthians 16:9, II Corinthians 2:12, Revelation 3:2) However, we also know that the gospel message and way of life often met with resistance. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, God’s people saw each of those trials as “another opportunity to excel!”

One final thought - minds closed to the gospel cannot completely quench the spiritual longings of the heart. Revelation 12 speaks of the serpent spewing a “torrent of water after the woman to sweep her away with the current. But the earth helped the woman and opened its mouth and swallowed the flood that the dragon spewed out of its mouth.” (Revelation 12:15b-16). The flood of filth that threatens to obliterate Christian culture will experience a backlash. I see “the earth” in this context as the innate spiritual nature of people that will eventually wake up and say “enough! I want God.” Humanity’s innate spiritual longings will desire something more. As St. Augustine said, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee, O Lord.”

Even if we do not live to see the age of a rebirth of Christian culture, may we remain faithful to Jesus Christ and witness to him with holiness of life, good deeds, words spiced with the gospel and by exercising the gifts of the Spirit. Let us not look at the obstacles, but at the open doors God gives us - and walk through them.

Sincerely in Christ,

Fr. Bob Franco
PS: Please check out my witness about the July conference on the home page.
Add your own witness too!