From Father's Desk

Dear OLPH,


bookWe are now into the thick of the book, Biggest Lie in the History of Christianity by Matthew Kelly. Last week, he taught us that holiness is possible! God created us to live in imitation of Him, and He is holy,  so we are called to be holy. In Jesus’ own words, “Be you therefore perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect,” (Mt 5:48). The Second Vatican Council radiated that truth like a beacon to the modern world, when it wrote about the Universal Call to Holiness (see Lumen Gentium , ch. 5). Thus, since before 1965, Christians have been awakening to the reality of their high calling, despite the deceit of the evil one who seeks to convince us that holiness is not possible. The evil one prefers to lull us into the malaise of mediocrity.

Our focus today is the fundamental building block to holiness, what Kelly calls a holy moment. Holy Moments need not be earth shattering. They can be, but need only be openings to the divine, time spent recognizing that our existence is a gift, remembering that we are loved, or encountering beauty. So holy moments may be majestic, but they can also be quiet connection with the One Who loves us.

Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection passed along the essence of connection in The Practice of the Presence of God . There he admits that he was never “very good” at prayer. Rather, he challenged himself to simply keep God ever in mind, to remember Him, while working or resting, and even while praying!. He fostered the skill to recollect himself and recall that he was in God’s presence. He cultivated this virtuous habit and despite never leaving the monastery, became a beautiful simple missionary for the presence of God!  Now Kelly does not mention Lawrence, but this dear brother is the poster child for holy moments!

Another key to holy moments is that it is not the grandeur of the action, but the love we bring that makes all the difference. Catherine Doherty would say, “Do little things with great love!” Right here in Maple Shade there is little grandeur and magnificence, but that does not mean we are not called to greatness. Any place  can be filled with love. Nazareth was not a very grand place either. Jesus lived there (and everywhere he went) with deeply intense love and mindfulness. So too, we are invited by the Lord to enter into life with the awareness that God is merely a breath away. Just a small remembrance (a headward nod or a raising of the heart) is sufficient to open ourselves to the holiness of God, and so to have a holy moment.

May I share one with you? One time in the seminary, I was walking around the grounds on a lovely spring afternoon. The young stems sprouting leaves, ushered an arboreal radiance. Curious, I sought a closer look and marveled at tender maple leaves. I thanked God. Suddenly, a delicate breeze wafted up and drew the leaves across my cheek, and I felt Him say: I am here. And he caressed my cheek with the leaves. His presence resounded in my chest. I know beyond any doubt the Holy Spirit guided that beautiful simple moment. In the days that passed, I returned to the tree and felt the leaves, but it was never quite as special as the original holy moment.

Might you have a holy moment to share?

In the Lord,

Fr. Wilson