Stephen’s Soliloquies 07-23-2017

Brothers and sisters in Christ, one of my favorite quotes from Pope Francis in his pastoral letter, Evangelii Gaudium (the Joy of the Gospel), is that a Christian is “essentially one who remembers” (EG 13). Remembers what?

Something very important to Pope Francis, is that believers have both a personal encounter and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ; the God who love s them. And so, the importance of remembering becomes essential in the Christian life.

Pope Francis calls us all to remember how we have come to know God throughout our lives. Where have we encountered God’s love? Where have we witnessed God, or, who have we seen the face of God in? How is God present to us day-to-day? Do we remember God in the happy times? Was God present to us during times of great trial? How is God present to us now? Where is God calling us to grow in our spiritual lives? How have we been challenged to grow in a deeper relationship with the Lord?

Pope Francis, wants us to be able to respond these questions with answers that are rooted in our own personal history; a personal history rich in the experience of God. And this is why remembering, and taking the time to remember (prayer), is so important. If we never reflect on our relationship with God, and hold on to those memories of encounters with God, we run the risk of forgetting that God has indeed been journeying with us. Pope  Francis doesn’t want us to forget. He wants us to remember why we come to Church. We come to Church because we have experienced a God who loves us. We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19)

Friends, we find ourselves in the month of July. A month that hopefully is a chance to rest, to spend time with family, and be rejuvenated. When we find ourselves enjoying the gift of rest during these summer months, maybe this is a chance to sit down and to remember. To remember the gifts that God has given each of us; namely, the gift of God’s presence in each of our lives.

In Christ’s friendship,
Fr. Stephen