Fr. David and I periodically meet to discuss the status of the perpetual adoration program at St. Philomena. At a recent meeting, the topic of my weekly Adoration Letter came up. We talked about the fact that, on occasion, a parishioner complains about the content of an article or that an opinion expressed in one of the articles may be interpreted by others as the opinion of the staff at St. Philomena.
Some people aren’t aware of this, but when I started writing the weekly articles (over six years ago), they were inserted in the bulletins every week. When Fr. David became pastor of St. Philomena, he told me that he didn’t want the articles inserted in the bulletins because he didn’t want it to appear as though he or the church was endorsing what was stated in the articles. He also didn’t want parishioners to feel as though the articles were an extension of (or a part of) the church bulletins. He told me that instead of inserting the articles in the bulletins, I could make them available next to the bulletins for people to pick up on their own if they wanted to.
After I began making the articles available next to the bulletins, I added a disclaimer at the bottom of every article. The language has been the same ever since and states that the contents of each article are not endorsed by any priest or church and are based solely on my own opinions.
For some background, during the years I was attending Fr. John Hardon’s annual (silent) men’s retreats, he constantly reminded the men who were in attendance that it was our obligation as devout lay Catholics to write about and teach others about the Catholic faith.
Fr. Hardon was frequently called upon by the Vatican to report what was going on in the Catholic Church in America. He was also a spiritual director to Mother Teresa and her sisters. He was the holiest priest I ever met, so when he said I had an obligation to write about and teach others about the Catholic faith, I considered it to be the closest thing to a direct command from God that I would ever receive.
As you know, the content of my weekly articles isn’t strictly limited to matters of faith. In addition to writing about the Catholic faith, I write about topics that touch on marriage, children, teenagers, relationships, birth control, abortion, education, Christian sexuality, movies, television, music, politics, business, health, and personal development. In other words, I write about topics and issues that most people are interested in or deal with on a regular basis. Most of my articles end with a lesson and a call to action as to what I believe people need to do to lead more virtuous and holy lives.
We don’t live our lives in isolation. Whether we like it or not, we have to live and deal with worldly events and issues that are sometimes unpleasant and painful. I talk about and discuss matters that affect every one of us. In every one of my articles you see who I am – a man who loves his faith and his family; a man who has learned how to survive in the business world; a man who risks getting into trouble because he is sometimes too blunt and aggressive; a man who is never on the fence and takes firm positions on difficult issues; a man who is interested in helping people reach their full potential; a man who desires to lead others to heaven with him.
At our meeting, Fr. David and I discussed whether my weekly Adoration Letter should continue to be made available for pickup in the adoration chapel. He indicated that he felt that people in the chapel should be focusing exclusively on prayer, meditation, and/or spiritual reading (which does not include reading the Catholic Post). That is one of the reasons the weekly church bulletins are not available for pickup in the chapel.
We decided that since I often write about topics that are unrelated to prayer and holiness, the weekly Adoration Letter should no longer be placed in the adoration chapel.
I asked Fr. David if he would allow me to write a weekly meditation that could be made available for adorers to pick up in the chapel. The purpose of each meditation would be to lead individuals to a greater understanding of the mysteries of the Catholic faith. The content that would be provided in the meditations would be gleaned primarily from the writings of the saints. Each of the meditations would be less than a page in length.
Fr. David was open to the idea of a weekly meditation and has given me permission to make the meditations available for reading in the chapel. A new printed meditation will be made available each Wednesday evening for pickup at the table located in the entrance area of the chapel. The weekly meditations will also be posted on my website at Adoration.com. (The traditional weekly Adoration Letter will continue to be placed at the church entrances next to the bulletins on Saturday afternoons before the 4:30 p.m. Mass.)
I’m excited about the new challenge of writing a meditation every week. Prior to meeting with Fr. David, I had no idea I would end up making another major (weekly) commitment. I believe that the biggest impediment to our own growth in holiness is our unwillingness to make additional commitments to daily prayer and the regular performance of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
At the end of our lives when we come face-to-face with almighty God, I think we’re all going to be shocked by how much we failed to do during our lives here on Earth. I expect that our Lord will show us how he repeatedly called upon us to make new commitments to grow in holiness and to assist others in their physical and spiritual needs. We will have no excuses for our failure to make the commitments he asked of us.
As a consequence of my conversation with Fr. David, I believe that our Lord was calling on me to take on the task of writing a meditation every week. I am hoping I am correct in my interpretation of God’s will for me and I hope that the weekly meditations will help others grow closer to Him. I know that I will grow closer to God as a result of having to prepare for and write a new meditation each week.
The weekly meditations will begin on Wednesday, August 15, 2012. I would appreciate it if you would give me about six weeks and then let me know what you think of the meditations. I would also appreciate it if you would say a prayer for the success of this new endeavor. Thank you.