Eight years ago when I became the pastor of St. Mary Star of the Sea Parish, it was in the midst of an urgent financial crisis. I can remember the finance council convening weekly for meetings that would extend past 11pm. I won’t bother listing all of the problems that hit us all at once, but they were many and they all seemed to be “urgent.” While I have no desire to re-live those days, valuable lessons can be learned from them.
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In every Christian and in every Christian community, there is an urgency built in. The motto of the Catholic High School that I attended--Archbishop Williams--was “Caritas Christi Urget Nos.” It is taken from the Fifth Chapter of St. Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians. “The Love of Christ Urges (drives, compels) Us On.” One determining factor of the spiritual health of individual Christians and of Christian communities is their level of commitment to spreading the Gospel. And of course, if this level of commitment is missing, it might well be that the underlying faith of the individuals or the community is in need of strengthening.
This coming October begins the Year of Faith. It is given to us by the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI for the purpose of deepening our own faith and rediscovering the urgency of proclaiming the Gospel and evangelizing others. As a shepherd, I want my parishes to rediscover the beauty of our Faith and to feel more urgently the task of evangelization. Our parishes need priests and people who know and love Jesus Christ more and who are compelled by that love to announce Him to others.
May the Love of Christ Urge Us On to be more faithful believers, more generous givers, more steadfast defenders of the Faith, more ardent heralds of the Gospel, and more authentic witnesses of Jesus Christ. Together—one in mind and one in heart—let us rediscover the joy of being caught up in the urgency of the love of Christ.