Receiving and Using the Spirit’s Gifts

Dear Parishioners & Visitors,

His Excellency Bishop George Sheltz will confirm over forty youth at our 12:30 p.m. Mass today with the Confirmands receiving the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. These gifts, Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety, and Fear of the Lord, ignite the heart and soul with the fiery blaze of love in action. The Holy Spirit bestows these dynamic gifts that we may put them to use in taking responsibility as maturing Christians to search out and love God & neighbor. The last thing we want to do with such God-given gifts is place them in a safe-deposit box deep in the recesses of our heart and soul. More than likely, if we did that, we’d end up losing the key or forgetting the key-pad code to access the safe-deposit box and the Spirit’s wondrous gifts locked away inside.

Taking responsibility means taking risks. The Spirit’s gift of Counsel offers us guidance about how best to act in faith in whatever state of life or situation we may find ourselves. If I am an elementary, high school, or university student and a classmate finds herself or himself having a difficult time understanding a rule of math or is struggling to read music for the flute or tuba, and asks for help, or I myself notice the classmate’s difficulty, then I have a decision to make. I can play it safe and come up with an excuse to avoid helping or I can take the risk to do what I can to either help the person myself or find someone who can and at least encourage him or her.

If I do take the risk to help then this holy risk-taking amounts to a gift that I then give to another which means that I am cooperating with the Spirit’s Gifts with which to GIFT another. Such decisions are life-giving acts in which we choose to give ourselves away in loving and sacrificial ways for a good, just, and merciful purpose. It is by living in this way that we become whole in Christ and not have pieces of ourselves chopped up and locked away in selfish safe-deposit boxes. The Gifts of the Holy Spirit set us free to take risks for the sake of an abiding and profound love for others and for God, Who provides us with all we need to risk our love. Christ gave His all ~ Let us give ours!

—fr. Chris, O.P.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Grace of the Sacrament of Matrimony

Many of you constantly show me your appreciation and kindness by asking about my parents. Several of you have met them in the many times they have visited Houston. Mom and dad always remember the show of affection from many of you. Since you keep asking about them, here is an update.

My mom is basically taking care of my father. As many of you remember, my father had a stroke about a year ago. All things considered he has recuperated well. His mind is sharp and he has a voracious appetite, but he needs help in getting up from bed. Basically, he needs to be carried to his wheel chair or the sofa and then back to bed when he gets tired. However, dad continues physical therapy and walks with the help of a walker; this is a big effort that hopefully he will continue to work through.

I’m a firm believer that any challenge also brings many blessings. Through these difficult circumstances I’ve witnessed something marvelous; their love for each other and the devotion of my mother for my father. That has been quite a gift to me and my sister. After celebrating fifty years of marriage, on December 8, 2014, I’m a constant witness of the grace of the Sacrament of Matrimony in my parents. How their love for one another has grown through the years! I see it clearly in the gentle way mom brings him a glass of water or the way she supervises the food he eats—making sure it’s of his liking and the way he likes it prepared. I’m amazed at the way she listens to him and how they pray together. I’ve seen that she first thinks of him, and the sacrifice this involves. I wholeheartedly say to both of them: thank you!

As I continue to prepare couples for marriage and witness the exchange of their vows on their wedding day, the image of my parents often comes to mind. I feel so blessed by them and thank the Lord for giving them to me as a great example of faith, dedication to each other, and our family. Let me also share with you, I can’t wait to see mom and dad at the end of September.

Many blessings, and thank you for asking,

—fr. Juan, O.P.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment