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from fathers desk

Dear Family in Christ,

For three years now, I have elected to provide a small Christmas gift to our parish family. Nothing fancy, just a book we buy for a buck or two, but it's the story that matters. As we know from the greatest reads of our lives, the contents of the pages can be a treasure beyond price, like that great pearl the merchant discovered.

I admit that I am a bit of a bookworm. A full decade of post-baccalaureate education will do that to anyone. Have you ever bought a book but never read it, only to discover its rich and meaningful content years later? I have even scanned my shelves and said, “I didn't even know that I owned this one!” A friend of mine in seminary used to say in jest, “Having things is better than knowing things!” He would often buy books with the best of intentions yet ended up reading only a percentage of his purchases. Amazon Prime in graduate school can do that to anyone.

Today we begin a little book, I Heard God Laugh, by Matthew Kelly. A simple book, but its contents have the power to change our lives. Matthew invites us on the great adventure of personal friendship with God; he encourages us to begin a habit of prayer, beginning with just 10 minutes a day. If your commute got shorter due to COVID, then 10 minutes is probably very manageable. Think of prayer as a daily check-in, with the Doctor of your soul, or a calming cup of tea with a close friend, or just some deep breathing with the One who gifts us each breath. Above all, Matthew will suggest that we pray with the sacred scriptures. The same suggestion Pope Francis often repeats: 15 minutes with the Gospels. This simple habit is the key to a whole rich world so many people never experience, especially these days with so much technology and noise.

Today the Church celebrates the Epiphany, meaning manifestation, a moment when God is made known. In point of fact, layers of epiphanies enrich this day, the first of which is the visit by the Magi. Three wisemen from the East who know how to read the stars, and arrive in Bethlehem to pay the new-born King homage.

So many in Israel and Judea did not know the secret meaning of the star. They did not know how to read the heavens. The heavens were like a row of unopened books on a shelf. But for those with the wisdom to look into the heavens and see, a great adventure began that culminated in the worship of the one true God. These foreigners saw and understood the need to begin a journey. After a lengthy and perilous quest they arrived to see and understand even more deeply the meaning of life and human existence.

Let’s not leave this book on the shelf, but instead enrich our lives by its warm and thoughtful presentation of the beginnings of a life of prayer. Prayer, the essential daily habit. Prayer is that journey with God to examine our lives in his light. We can rely on the ancient wisdom of Socrates, “The unexamined life is not worth living,” and together journey with the Lord into the deep riches of a life lived in his love.

May the Lord show himself to us!
Fr. Wilson