As you read this, I am starting my priest retreat at Mundelein Seminary outside of Chicago. Please pray for me. Retreats for priests are very important. It becomes needed time to “re-calibrate,” so to speak, in order to grow spiritually and pastorally so that we might better serve the Church and the faithful … and ourselves I might add. Priests from one end of the United States to the other will be in attendance with me. We are all a part of the same fraternity – The St. John Fisher Society. It’s part retreat and part continuing ed. This way I can kill two birds with one stone. Our presenter is a Dominican priest who will be speaking to us about the Divine Indwelling, the Divine Missions and Eucharistic Grace according to Thomas Aquinas, and how the Holy Eucharist leads us to the communion of persons shared in the Trinity. Heavy stuff for sure … thank God the presentations are in the morning and evening, otherwise I would be dozing off regularly! My other hope is to see a Cubs game while I am there. There is only one game – a makeup game with Atlanta – the last night I’m in town. Pray it doesn’t get rained out!
While I’m on retreat, some of my brother priests will be transitioning into new parishes. (You’re stuck with us I’m afraid … at least for another year). We need to continue to pray for vocations. Our plates are full, no doubt. Fr. Lacey, Deacon Radio, the staff and I do our best to meet the pastoral and sacramental needs of Cathedral parish. It is challenging. Yet, we are up for the challenge and excited about where the Spirit will lead us with so many potential opportunities. It has now been one year since my arrival at Cathedral. On June 22, I celebrated my 15th anniversary of ordination. I must say, I am enjoying it, even when it seems overwhelming. Many thanks to all of you for making me feel so welcome at Cathedral!
No matter our life situations, we all have heavy loads to carry – physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially. Obviously, for some the challenges are greater than others, yet Christ says it is persevering in faith that brings us our reward:
“Behold, I have given you the power to ‘tread upon serpents’ and scorpions and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” Jesus offers us some comforting words during these hectic days of national celebration: Today we are reminded by our Lord that in our trials and tribulations the Kingdom of God endures forever. The purpose of prayer is not to change the order established by God, but to obtain what God has decided to accomplish by means of our prayer. God wants the working out of certain things to depend on our desire and our faith in the midst of adversity. Thus, we trust in his “sending us out” as servants of the Gospel that we are not doing God’s work alone. Ultimately, that’s what brings rest for our souls, and in the end our names written in heaven.
Happy Fourth Weekend!
Fr. James P. Morgan