Friday, December 09, 2005

More Good News from Denver

Three priests and one transitional deacon ordained there last week -- 17 ordinations in total for the year, with 11 more new priests to come in May....
Noting that the day was the feast of St. Francis Xavier, priest and co-founder of the Society of Jesus with St. Ignatius Loyola, Archbishop Chaput emphasized three points from the saint’s life especially relevant to the occasion. He stressed the importance of:
— friendship (community) that spurs one to achieve holiness;
— the imagination to realize God’s dream for our lives; and
— the missionary vocation of the Christian.

Despite his limited ability and inadequate resources, Francis traveled to India and Japan and in 10 years converted tens of thousands of people. Considered one of the most enthusiastic missionaries of the Church, he was canonized and named patron of the foreign missions, observed Archbishop Chaput.

“If it weren’t for the persistence of his friends, especially Ignatius, inviting him time and time again to embrace the Gospel more faithfully and fervently, he might never have done it,” the archbishop said.

On imagination he asserted: “Our communities stir our imagination to greatness and lead us to desire what is not yet but could be because of God’s wondrous and great presence in our lives.”

About the missionary vocation he said: “The missionary vocation of the Church flows from the life of the Holy Trinity — the Father sends the Son to the world, then the Son sends the Church to the world around us. Jesus said to his disciples: ‘As the Father has sent me, so now I send you. Go forth, therefore, to all nations and baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

“You are transformed in this celebration of our sacrament today to be sent to the Church as the Father sent Jesus,” the archbishop said. He urged the men to consider that the Church and the future of our community can be different because of their ordained ministry.
Each of the guys ordained last week are in their early 30s. That's good -- there's a lot to be said for life experience out in the working world before going into the sem.

Elsewhere in the DCR, the Archbishop reflects on C.S. Lewis and Christmas:
We’re already half way through Advent. What have we done to really live it?

The world has an ingenious ability to attach itself to what Christians believe; tame it; subvert it — and then turn it against the very people who continue to believe. Too many Americans don’t really celebrate Christmas. They may think they do, but they don’t. They celebrate Exmas.

The world — left to its own devices — has no room and no use for the birth of Jesus Christ. It has contempt for Christians who seriously strive to be His disciples. So we have nothing to lose and everything to gain by being the saints God intended us to be. We can at least seek to be holy by tithing our time to sit quietly with God; allow Him to fill our actions and our choices with His Son; and let Him shape us into the men and women He needs. We can get up and experience the dawn in silence as a reminder of what Advent and Christmas mean. We can prepare ourselves to be alert for the voice of God and to receive God’s word afresh and proclaim it anew.

We need to understand that in many ways America is no longer a Christian culture. Of course, that can change. Many good Catholics and other Christians still live in it. But if people really understood and acted on the meaning of Advent, the world would be a different place.

Advent means “coming.” What’s coming in the reality of Christmas is an invasion. The world needs the invasion but doesn’t want it. It’s an invasion of human flesh and all creation by the Son of God; by the holiness of the Creator Himself.

All of us in the Church were baptized to be part of that good invasion. The doubts, the failures, the mistakes of the past don’t matter. Only our choices now matter. How will we live our Christian faith from this day forward? How will we make our Catholic witness an icon of Christ’s Advent?

For our own sake, and the sake of the people we love, we need to pray that our yearning for God will truly reflect God’s yearning for us. And when it does, then the world will be a different place.