Thư Mục Vụ Mùa Vọng của Cha Tổng Quyền David T. Fitzgerald, s.P.
In the second Reading from the Book of Titus 3:4-7 for the Mass at Dawn on Christmas Day – we hear the following words:
When the kindness and generous love
of God our savior appeared,
not because of any righteous deeds we had done
but because of his mercy,
He saved us through the bath of rebirth
and renewal by the Holy Spirit…
For the Congregation of the Servants of the Paraclete the words of Titus have an extraordinarily powerful meaning. In our ministry to priests and religious brothers we find reasons for hope and encouragement. To this day we continue to persevere in our efforts to bring personal and spiritual renewal to priests and religious brothers who have lost their way. Since 1947 we have striven to bring healing and hope to all, particularly those whose deeds have not been righteous. We are grateful that the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords and the Prince of Peace – JESUS – is also the God of Divine Mercy.
Each of us has sinned and each of us has suffered the effects of sin; our own sins and the sins of others. For the past few decades our church has been in a time of intense purification. We are growing in our willingness and ability to acknowledge and become responsible for our limitations, faults, failings and sins.
In today’s world where there is so much absolutization and polarization, Titus reminds us that Jesus came into this world because he loves and wants to forgive sinners. The church he founded has taught the difference between right and wrong based on the 10 Commandments God handed down to Moses on Mt. Sinai. Our church has helped us see and hear clearly the call of the Lord to love one another. The gift Jesus gave the world when he offered himself on the Cross is a sacrifice that is recreated at every Mass and given for and to us at every celebration of the Eucharist. Through the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Church he founded we have grown in our understanding of the need for personal and institutional conversion. The absolute necessity of prayer and penance is more evident now than perhaps ever before in our history.
When we begin the Mass, we take a moment to “call to mind our sins.” Years ago, someone in my class at the seminary remarked that it was “socially, therapeutically and psychologically unhealthy” to invite people together and then remind them of their faults and imperfections. At Mass however, our goal is to recall that God asks us to “remember” our sins so we can remember the gift of his great mercy. Just before Holy Communion, when we say that we are unworthy, we do so not to put ourselves down, but to express our belief and hope that the God of Mercy will heal us.
This Christmas when we attend Mass and kneel before the manger scene representing the humble beginnings of Jesus Christ and his mission in the world let us ask for the grace and courage to be honest, open and willing to seek, ask for and offer forgiveness.
Thanks to all of God’s Priestly People for your prayers, encouragement and support. We love you and thank you for loving us, even though we are still in need of the gift of Divine Mercy. May God who is kind and merciful bless you and your families this Christmas and throughout the New Year.
Sincerely in the Paraclete,
Very Reverend David T. Fitzgerald, s.P.