“More than that, I even consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things and I consider them so much rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having any righteousness of my own based on the law but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God, depending on faith”. (Philippians 3: 8-9)
“There’s a fire in my belly” are words I often hear from seminarians as they move through the process of formation.
That burning desire to share what has been given to us in knowing Jesus should be common to all believers.
As we celebrate the patron saint of Ireland this week, let us take his example of putting “the supreme good of knowing Christ” first in his life. Captured in Scotland by pirates and taken to Ireland as a slave to tend sheep, Saint Patrick prayed continuously during his captivity. It was during those six years that he experienced a conversion which protected him from the hardships of slavery. After being told in a dream from God to leave Ireland, St. Patrick escaped, returned home, and had another vision which prompted him to study for the priesthood. Entire kingdoms were brought to Christ through hearing him speak, often by using shamrocks to explain the Trinity.
But just exactly how do we make knowing Christ our ultimate goal? By meditating on how Jesus lived and responded to others when reading the Gospels; by studying references to Christ in Scripture; by allowing the Holy Spirit to remind us of our Lord’s words when we worship and pray; and by coming to mission with Him in forwarding the Gospel.
Friend, we are called to share our faith as St. Patrick did – even with his captors – however it will often mean making major changes in our thinking and lifestyle. Knowing Jesus naturally transforms our lives daily, inspiring us to invite others to know Him through us and through our actions. No amount of religious effort can make us right with God; we receive the gift of Christ’s righteousness only by trusting in the Lord.
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.