Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas reflections

After a relaxing and joy-filled visit with family, I am returning to comment on two events that recently made news in our diocesan paper. The first is an article featuring Jeff Skorik, the police chief of Marinette, WI whose faith helped him in dealing with the trauma of a school hostage situation and ultimate self-inflicted death of the young man responsible for it. What struck me about this article was the candor with which the policeman spoke about his faith. He and his wife had been signed up for weekly adoration, and when she offered to take his adoration time just days after the incident, he did not take her up on it, saying, “it was appropriate that I go to adoration.” The article went on to recount his renewal of faith. “When confronted with seemingly insurmountable challenges, someone who has faith in their life will come to that point very quickly.”

In a seemingly unrelated story, our former parish, St. Charles Borromeo in Chippewa Falls, was recently visited by a tragedy of a different sort. Someone stole the collection money from all of the Christmas and Sunday Masses. A significant portion of the collection had been designated for Casa Hogar, the orphanage very close to all of our hearts in the Diocese of La Crosse. When I heard of this event earlier today, my first reaction was that nobody would stand for this. Even if the culprits are never caught, the people of our diocese will not let this affect the orphans of Casa Hogar. I am confident that the money will not only be replaced, but surpassed by the generosity of faith-filled people.

In actuality, these two stories are deeply connected. Each reveals the providence of God’s great love through the folly and scandal of the cross. Benedict XVI has called it God’s “crazy love.” When humans fall short, God goes out of His way not only to restore us but to elevate us. He gives us the opportunity not only to be as we were but to be better than we were. God's answer to Adam and Eve’s sin...Jesus. God's response to those who crucified His Son...the offering of eternal salvation. To humans, God's responses to human folly seem ridiculous, but in the realization of this completely ridiculous love, disordered human actions provide us with the opportunity for true transformation. We are in need of ridiculous mercy. How wonderful is our God to condescend Himself to us so completely that we might be made worthy of everlasting life! When a bad thing happens to us or those we love, we should know that transforming grace is in super-abundant supply at that very moment in time, inviting us to be holier, more filled with the infectious love of Christ.

Blessed Christmas season to all of my readers! We celebrate the gift of Jesus Christ and His transforming, merciful love.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Upcoming event

Providence Academy is celebrating...

A Festival of Lessons and Carols

Thursday, December 16, 2010
6:30 pm

St. James the Less Catholic Church
1032 Caledonia St.
La Crosse, WI

An elegant evening of Scriptural readings, poetry and traditional hymns performed by the students of Providence Academy and accompanied by various instruments, including a string quartet.

A beautiful occasion designed to stir our hearts with joyful anticipation for the celebration of our Savior’s birth.

Providence Academy is a private, independent, classical academy in the Catholic tradition. Students range in age from pre-kindergarten through high school. For more information, please contact the office at (608) 784-6167.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cardinal Burke visits a little school

I thought I would return with a bang today. For all of you fans of the good Cardinal, I thought I would share with you a special visit we had with a distinguished guest today.

My children attend Providence Academy, a small school in La Crosse, WI with approximately 115 students. Students range in age from pre-K all the way up through high school. Their curriculum is firmly grounded in the classical model, requiring both Latin and Greek languages throughout the grades, building upon the traditions of history, philosophy, science and the arts in observing the truth about God's creation, and serving to support the gift of the Catholic faith.

Cardinal Burke has been a long-time supporter of the mission of our tiny school, and today he made an extraordinary effort to visit us in the midst of his busy schedule. He spoke about the importance of preserving this method of education that originated in the Catholic Church, and congratulated the efforts of those who continue to support this endeavor through much prayer and sacrifice.

My feeling after a day like this is profound gratitude. We are so blessed to have our children enlightened to the truths of reality which are ordered through the love of God. We are so blessed to know such a holy and humble servant of Christ, and we are completely, unfathomably blessed to be called to everlasting life through the sacrifice of our Lord. I am in complete awe of what mighty works God is accomplishing in us and through us each day. It makes me think about Mary in her beautiful words that are so appropriate for this season of Advent. "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior for He has looked with favor on His lowly servant." I thank God for the gift of Himself, that He gratuitously condescends to meet us where we are and transforms us so that we might glorify His name!