“So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
Imagine for a moment an archbishop voluntarily living as a homeless man.
In the inspirational novel The Homeless Bishop by Joseph E. Girzone, (Orbis Books), modern-day Archbishop Carlo Brunini ventures on a journey of homelessness to better understand the plight of those for whom he cares so deeply.
He endures the pangs of hunger, the humiliation of begging, the bone-chilling sensation of sleeping in bitter cold, and the profound fear for his life that those living on the streets do. Yet, through the self-sacrificing year-plus of living out in the elements, his faith grows exponentially. Having become a shunned and marginalized person with no earthly trappings, he tells his homeless “family”, “He (Jesus) was also one of us, a homeless beggar with nowhere to lay his head…for the most part he wandered around from village to village, eating whatever was available along the way.”
After revealing his true identity to those with whom he has been living, Archbishop Brunini says, “I am a better person, a better priest, a better archbishop because of what I have learned from you, my special family…It was because he (Jesus) had such a deep and beautiful feeling of love for people like you…And he made treatment of you and those like you the basis for how he will judge people when they die.”
Friend, if you ask Jesus today, “Break my heart for what breaks yours,” He will, but then be prepared to embark on a journey such as you’ve never taken before, a journey to become a new creation in Christ. Everything about you will change by the mighty power of the resurrected Christ. Growing into this new creation, we no longer regard anyone according to the flesh, but rather the Spirit that lives within.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Father Lance Nadeau, M.M.
First Sunday of Lent
Walk with me, Jesus, across the wilderness
Of selfishness, envy and fear
That I might be cleansed of all Sin and deceit.
Let me pick up my cross and follow you
That my ego might be crucified
And my soul be reborn to better reflect
Your holy image in me.
Not by bread alone may I live, Lord,
But by every word that
Comes forth from your mouth.
Help me tear down the idols I erected
In my heart that I might worship
And give me the courage and strength
To overcome every temptation
The Tempter might send my way.
For you, O Lord, are my only way
You are my truth and my life.
Fill my emptiness with your presence
And my soul with your grace
For with you ever by my side
I shall never face neither the darkness
Nor death alone.
Prayer by Father Joe Veneroso, M.M.