Fr. Doerr's September 13th Article
- Today in Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton
- Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
- 13 September 2020
The people of St. Elizabeth Seton have been thoroughly put to the test the first half of 2020. Since coming to the parish, I have visited with many parishioners and members of our staff. I have listened as many have shared their anxiety, their sorrow, and, perhaps, their anger – and a great amount of hope as well! The society of St. Elizabeth Seton is truly remarkable! But our situation is difficult. Our fellowship is being tested. In these circumstances, it seems imperative that we continue to follow the impulse of the Spirit of God. To do so is to visibly bear the fruit of a Christian community as our parish always has: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, as well as self-control,” and to live as St. Paul challenges us: “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit” (Cf. Galatians 5).
As you know, the Diocese of Lafayette has launched a new initiative to fund the many ministries made available to the Catholic people of North-Central Indiana. The new initiative, the Catholic Ministry Appeal, will replace the very successful and familiar, Fruitful Harvest. You will be receiving, or may have already received, a mailing introducing the diocesan Appeal. In the coming weeks I, along with a fellow parishioner a week later, will be making an appeal by addressing our people at Mass.
I am under no illusions about the challenge this may present to many of our people. The temptation to ignore this important appeal will be great. Our current economic situation, alone, has put undue strain on our families and our finances. Additionally, decisions made by ecclesial leadership has caused confusion and pain for some. I understand completely.
So how will you and your family benefit from participation in the 2021 Christian Ministry Appeal? Well, if we follow the wisdom of St. Paul, we can benefit greatly. Writing to the Corinthians, St. Paul suggests that any contribution made to the poor or to the work of the Church is abundantly blessed by God. After encouraging the Corinthians to support the Churches he had established, he makes this point: “He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” Intuitively, we know this to be true. The more generous we are with God, the more generous he is with us. There is nothing more truthful than that.
Leaving the decision of support to the individual, St. Paul continues, “Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Thus, it is not the amount of support one promises, but the disposition of one’s heart that pleases our Lord God.
St. Paul boldly reminds us, essentially, that God blesses us with all we need, and more, that we might, in turn, bless others from our excess: “And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that you may always have enough of everything and may provide in abundance for every good work… He [the Lord God] who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your resources and increase the harvest of your righteousness.” Thus does St. Paul make a very great promise; the more we give, the more we are blessed, and the more we are blessed, the more we can bless others. He says this with unyielding confidence.
I pray that our parish -in full-knowledge of the difficulties- will make and keep a pledge of support for the Catholic mission here in North-Central Indiana. I pray that we are seen as generous and kind people. I pray that, in turn, God will continue to bless us, and perhaps bless us even more abundantly as our sacrifice is all the more difficult in these days. All of this so that, as St. Paul concludes, we “will be enriched in every way for great generosity… Under the test of this service, [that we] will glorify God by our obedience in acknowledging the gospel of Christ… Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!” (Cf. 2 Corinthians 9).