SPIRITUAL REFLECTIONS

Twice a month the staff of St. Gregory the Great Church send out a spiritual reflection to all parishioners for whom we have an e-mail address. What follows are the most recent of these reflections. If you would like to have your name added to our e-mail reflection list, please e-mail us at info@stgregory.net, and we will add your name to our listing.

 

SPIRITUAL REFLECTION – FR. PAUL WACHDORF – MAY 14

Today, Monday, May 14, marks the 43rd anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood. As I look back at those 43 years, I call to mind the words from Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians that I chose as the theme of my first Mass. “Glory be to God whose power working within can do infinitely more than I could ever ask or imagine.” I have gone places, done things and met people that I never imagined would be a part of my life and my priesthood when I was first ordained. And I am grateful for the many different and surprising ways in which God has worked in in me and through me.

When I was first ordained, I thought that I would be a parish priest and eventually a pastor for the rest of my priesthood. Then after six years at my first parish assignment at St. John Fisher Church on the South side of Chicago, I was invited to join the seminary faculty at Mundelein Seminary. I never imagined that I would return to the seminary in any capacity. But God had different plans for me, and I enjoyed 26 wonderful years there as a member of the Formation Team and as the Director of Spiritual Life and Prayer Formation. I was privileged to be part of the formation of seminarians not only of Chicago but of Dioceses throughout the United States and other countries. It was a challenging and exciting time for me. And I am very grateful for the time I spent in the seminary. And I expected that I would probably remain on the seminary faculty for several additional years. And then 11 years ago out of the blue, I received a call from Cardinal George telling me that he was appointing me as the new pastor of St. Gregory the Great Church. Once again, God had other plans for me. And what a blessing these past 11 years have been for me. And I thank you for your prayers for me and your support of me in my time here as your pastor.

As I look back now at 43 years of priesthood, I realize that they have been for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health. They have been times of joy and sorrow, of challenge and of growth. In the Gospel of Luke, we hear that Mary, after all the events that led up to and followed the birth of her son Jesus, treasured them and reflected on them in her heart. Over the past few days leading up to my ordination anniversary, I too have treasured all the people, places and events that have been a part of my priesthood and have reflected on them in my heart. And I would not trade them for anything in the world. I want to thank you for the many ways in which you have blessed my life and my priesthood over the past 11 years. Please pray for me and my classmates as we celebrate 43 years of service to the Church and to the people God has entrusted to our care.

 

SPIRITUAL REFLECTION – SISTER REGINA DE VITTO – MAY 1                                       

When something is bothering me, especially if I cannot identify what it is, or work through it, I can give others an impression that I am unapproachable. I can even act in ways beyond what is characteristically appropriate for me. I can be too loud or too abrupt, too sharp or overly sensitive. I can be joyless. When this happens it is a sign to me that I need to get out of my head and take a rest in my heart for a completely different way of seeing, hearing, feeling. When I take the time to pray in this way, I discover that I need to make friends with what troubles me. God, in friendship with me, awaits my response. I start to get in touch with myself and am uplifted with a sense of peace and joy.

The old adage “practice makes perfect” contains wisdom and truth. Athletes, musicians, doctors, lawyers, etc. know well the meaning of this saying. The skills needed to perform with excellence require practice. But in addition to the skill there is the component of relationship with oneself and with others who are team mates and colleagues. This Sunday, twenty-three of our children will receive the Eucharist for the first time. For the love of the Risen Christ in the Eucharist to grow deep in one’s heart, regular reception of the sacrament is a must. Eucharist is not so much a thing to do but an intimate and loving relationship to be practiced. Jesus tells us in this Sunday’s Gospel:  

“Remain in my love…so that my joy may be in you.”

May we remain together in the love of Christ so that our joy may be complete, bearing fruit to the world.