Hello! Once again, it is a blessing to be with you in this Catholic Family venue. When I signed up to work and minister with (and for) David and Allyson – one of the promises I made to them was to pray for them… to lift them and their family in prayer. My wife and I would become ‘prayer warriors’ for them. It isn’t something we do casually. We try to remember these commitments – and to follow through on them. [And as a sidenote – if you’d like to see a full length Sunday Homily about this topic of praying for others – I invite you to go to my http://www.deacontomonline.com website. Look at the homily for 102107 – the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time.] But, I digress.
Okay – were you perhaps drawn into the title for this month’s column? Who in the world would want to ‘adopt cancer’ into their life? This idea came from former White House Press Secretary, Tony Snow. And whatever your politics, I ask you to pray for Tony and his family as he is struggling with a very serious form of cancer. I don’t want to drag us down, but Tony gives us a lesson on living our faith as if there’s no tomorrow. Here’s something he recently shared:
“The moment you enter the Valley of the Shadow of Death, things change. You discover that Christianity is not something doughy, passive, pious, and soft. Faith may be the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. But it also draws you into a world shorn of fearful caution. The life of belief teems with thrills, boldness, danger, shocks, reversals, triumphs, and epiphanies.
Think of Paul, traipsing though the known world and contemplating trips to what must have seemed the antipodes (Spain), shaking the dust from his sandals, worrying not about the morrow, but only about the moment.”
This is what I often pray for – this is something I often preach about. It’s what the late and great John Paul II talked about – it’s a lived faith rather than a one-hour-a-week faith. And if you read my Catholic Family column last month – you may see a theme emerging. It is my prayer that you, and you, and you and you – that we find ways to begin to live our faith as if it was the greatest gift we ever received. Let it not take cancer or addiction or family crisis to experience this gift. And the more we take off the wrapping paper – the greater the gift becomes. We find that our Catholic faith isn’t doughy or pious or soft. Because this faith is useable… it is helpful… it gives purpose and meaning to our lives… and in turn, that gives these same gifts to the children in our lives. And faith is, like Tony Snow said, something to deal with that which is mysterious… it will give us things to contemplate… it will teach us of the brokenness of humanity even in the Church. But it will give us a growing understanding of God’s abiding presence in our lives each and every moment. And isn’t it ironic – this is what the Jews knew a thousand years before Christ? They knew that the one, true God was with them at all times … well almost all times. One of the times they thought He wasn’t with them was when they had a form of cancer – they called it leprosy. Many now see Biblical leprosy as a form of serious sin.
Dear Catholic Family listeners and readers, there is a great book that is easy to read. It is from Archbishop Charles Chaput. The book is titled “Living the Catholic Faith.” (Servant Books, St. Anthony Messenger Press)
We used this book in our parish Lenten Small Groups a few years ago. Most everyone agreed that it is challenging, well written and it is practical. I hope to share a few thoughts from that book in the future. And if David and Allyson are ‘listening’ to this column, I’d like to offer free copies of Archbishop Chaput’s book to the first four people who send the Sweeneys an email at us [at] catholicfamilypodcast [dot] com
Simply request a copy of Living The Catholic Faith as mentioned by Deacon Tom – giving your mailing information to David and Allyson.
Meanwhile – we are heading into the Thanksgiving Season. I give thanks to God for faith, for the Church, for the Sacraments, and for my marriage and our own family. And will you join me in prayer, thanking God for David and Allyson and their family? If you do join me in that prayer – maybe my wife and I can take a few days off praying for them. You think? Maybe we can pray for your needs? Well, of course you’d have to let me know what’s going on in your life. Yikes – we’re going to be busy. Happy Thanksgiving. Blessings.