September 21, 2018

Worship and Evangelization / Fr. Patrick Beidelman

Crisis offers chance to grow in relationship with Jesus

At this time when a light is shining on the plight of victims of abuse and on the failures of the Church, I, like so many, am feeling a full range of emotions.

I am angry and frustrated. I am sad and concerned for those who are suffering. 

However, amid these many reactions, I am also feeling a nudge from God to intensify my efforts to strive to personally grow in my faithfulness to God.

After 46 years of life on this Earth and more than 20 years of serving God and the Church as a priest, I still find great solace in the promptings of the Holy Spirit to consider going deeper in my relationship with Jesus Christ.

Thank the heavens I am still receiving these invitations from our Lord! (It is my contention that he is offering these invitations to all of us all the time.)

These promptings and these invitations in my life now feel both the same as and different from the ones I received when I was younger. They feel the same in that the God of eternity is the one who continues to call, the God who has been with me all along, who I knew and loved as a child, a teenager and a young adult. 

He is the God of my days in the seminary at Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in St. Meinrad and of my time as a young priest.

He is the God who has shown me such great mercy when I have fallen short in my call to imitate him, and in giving him my best, as well as the God who has made it all possible by his grace.

In a lot of ways, these promptings and these invitations from my life now feel the same. But there is also something different about them, too.

At this time in my life, these invitations to grow deeper in my relationship with the Lord feel a bit more urgent but a lot less threatening. Whereas in the newness of my adult relationship with Christ, I used to feel like I was taking a blind leap of faith to trust in God’s providence and in God’s plan, now when I am beckoned to follow his voice and answer his call, I have had so much more experience of his power, his faithfulness and his mysterious love in my life and in the lives of others that it feels less like jumping off a cliff into the unknown and more like returning to a familiar and warm place that I am just discovering is bigger than I thought it was.

And so, it is in light of the consolation and solace that I feel in my awareness of these invitations to go deeper in my relationship with Jesus that I would challenge us to open our hearts to the person of Jesus in our prayer during these days.

It is our relationship with Jesus Christ, especially in the Eucharist, that leads us to deeper understanding, to healing and peace, and to strength so that we can witness as disciples of the Lord and ministers of the Gospel.

Being missionary disciples of Jesus means striving always to encounter the Lord at all times.

May he visit all of us with his powerful presence and lead us to deeper communion with him and with one another.

(Father Patrick Beidelman is executive director of the archdiocesan Secretariat for Spiritual Life and Worship.)

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