Saturday, January 8, 2011

Christ teaches through his Bishop

I'm taking a break from FOCUS Conference 2011 in St. Paul to give you a report from His Excellency, Bishop Aquila's homily today. Bishop Samuel Aquila is a man of prayer and authentic Catholic devotion. He was truly lending his voice to Jesus Christ as instructed 1000 college students today.

John the Baptist was the inspiration, from John 3:22-30. His Excellency described quite beautifully how the Baptist was attentive to and listening for the voice of the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, throughout his life. For the Baptist, the coming of the Christ was not a disappointment but the fulfillment of his life and the completion of his joy.

Then His Excellency gave the students 3 guides for listening to and answering the call of our Lord. They were simple but his presentation was prayerful and tender to the hearts of college students.
  1. Acknowledge that there is a call.
  2. Frequent communion and confession
  3. Read Scripture to know our Lord.
We must acknowledge the call of our Lord to give him space and permission to work in our lives. The call of our Lord is specific and particular to each of our gifts. It is in the school of quiet prayer that we learn how to receive our call. Bishop Aquila relayed the story of his own elevation to the Episcopacy as coadjutor Bishop to Bishop Sullivan of Fargo. He spent an hour and a half in disbelief and prayer in the chapel. Even though he had heard and answered the call to priesthood he was unprepared to know our Lord calling him to be a bishop. With beautiful tears, His Excellency shared his own doubt and weakness in the face of so awesome a responsibility: "How is it that the Mother of my Lord should come to me?"

Bishop Aquila gives us a key for understanding our weakness in the face of the call of Christ. Weakness is no reason to turn down the call but rather to live in obedience and humility. So many potential vocations and calls to Christian discipleship are lost when the evil one accuses. Though His Excellency didn't cite this, he might have quoted 2 Corinthians 12:9, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness."

This weakness should also move us to the Eucharist and Confession. Frequently. In Confession we discover the difference between Peter and Judas. Both apostles sinned and fell short. Peter repented and sought the Lord. Judas despaired of his sins. In Confession we know the mercy of God in Jesus Christ and are built up in confidence in him. The Eucharist, of course, feeds us and gives us the sacred place where we can be united to the saving sacrifice of Christ.

Finally, His Excellency reminds all those seeking for their calling to read Scriptures. A soul will never know its vocation until it knows Christ. We must read the Scriptures in a prayerful and reflective way. Opening the heart to hear His Word, living and active, as it speaks to our day and our needs.

Christ, you call all souls to holiness and to life with you. Give all Catholic hearts the gifts they need to hear and answer your call.

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