Love Overflows in Generous Service
Last week, we discussed food and fasting. I presented the spiritual and physical benefits of fasting and a nation-wide endeavor organized by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to pray and fast on Fridays for the next two months (August and September) for the cause of LIFE. I'm in! Will you join me? It’s awesome to think that Catholics around the whole country will be united in prayer and fasting for two months! Would you please join the Catholics in the United States on this common endeavor?
See the USCCB website for more information or to sign up: www.usccb.org/pray . Or just text “FAST” (all caps) to 55000 (also supported by the USCCB). It’s simple. Both methods offer reminders and educational information.
Good timing. This week CrossRoads is in town. Pope Saint John Paul invited the youth in 1993 (WYD, Denver): “Be not afraid to take the gospel of Life to the streets like the first Apostles.” Two years later CrossRoads began as a small team walking across the country for the cause of life. They preach with their witness, dedication and commitment, more than their words. Imagine spending months walking across the whole country, day-after-day. How many pairs of sneakers do they wear out?! This weekend they are on campus after all the Masses. I encourage you to strike up a conversation with these wonderful young people.
They are living the summer dedicated to charity or generous service of the Gospel. Usually, we speak of three practices: prayer, fasting and almsgiving . Jesus offers this trinity in the Sermon on the Mount, reminding “and the Father who sees in secret will repay you” (see: Matthew 6). The Church presents them as a unit, usually during Lent. For the next several weeks, I will be presenting topics related to these “ Three Musketeers ” bound together in a common goal of Christian holiness.
The Church Fathers teach us that prayer and fasting flower into a life full of charity, an outpouring of generous service. Picture a stream overflowing its banks to make the meadow fertile. In fact, John Chrysostom says that our prayer and fasting remain unfulfilled until they well up into alms, charity, and generosity. Love is meant to be shared, poured out. We can even pair these three practices with the theological virtues. Prayer deepens faith. Fasting quickens hope. Almsgiving manifests charity.
The young people of CrossRoads are witnesses to this reality! Praying as they walk, fasting and practicing other asceticisms along the way. And the simplicity and focus of their lives, blossoms into a beautiful witness to others. God-willing, and through the intercession of Saint John Paul, I pray they continue to take the Gospels to the streets through the witness of their lives.
Our dear members of OLPH are witnesses to the reality of charity! Last week, Fr. James Mweyunge shared with us his experiences and the need in Tanzania. And the good people of OLPH responded with hearty generosity. We raised $ 3270 ! That's about double the usual second collection. That is wonderful! Thank you. Thank you! I am so happy we could overflow our banks and water the mission fields of Tanzania with our love, with our generosity.
I invite you to be ever on the lookout for opportunities to show your love. That is what holiness is: loving the Lord with all we got! And loving our neighbor as ourselves! And the Father who sees in secret will repay us.
Next week, we focus on prayer.
God bless you!