New Year’s Resolution – for God
Dear People of St. Catherine’s,
Many of you know that I am a member of the Order of the Ascension, a small religious order in the Episcopal church that is focused on parish development and spirituality. (the website is http://www.orderoftheascension.org/) Many of you have participated in the two Lenten studies where we focused on Michelle Heyne’s book, In Your Holy Spirit: Traditional Spiritual Practices in Today’s Christian Life. Several years ago the entire Vestry attended the Diocesan Vestry retreat day which was led by two members of the Order: Michelle Heyne, and Robert Gallagher. More recently, the Worship Commission has begun reading the companion book for church leaders, written by Robert Gallagher. As we begin this year of 2018 together I would like to suggest some ways that we can deepen our faith together.
First of all, I believe that the primary job/task of the church is to form people in Christ. That is my priority in all that I do as your Rector. Spiritual formation for all ages, which includes participation in weekly Eucharist and daily prayer, is my focus. In that light, I invite you to consider these questions for 2018 as you look at your life and your participation in this parish of St. Catherine’s:
What do I need to do to stay grounded in Christ?
What do I need to do to grow as a person?
What will help me grow in perseverance, joy and wonder, faith and hope?
(Robert A. Gallagher, In Your Holy Spirit: Shaping the Parish Through Spiritual Practice, p. 11).
I would love to hear your answers to these questions!
During 2018, each month I will offer a specific practice for you to try.
This month’s practice has to do with participation in the Eucharist.
January: Let your focus be on the liturgical action.
Liturgy is “the work of the people”. What matters most is that we are present together, worshiping God. “We exist to participate in the life and glory of God, and it is in the Eucharist that life is focused and actualized” ( IYHS p. 37 )
Try to set the prayer book aside as much as possible, especially during the Eucharistic Prayer, so that you can let your attention be on the liturgical action. For example, try looking at the reader instead of looking at the words on the page. Notice what happens. Watch the priest throughout the Eucharistic Prayer.
What would happen if we all made a New Year’s resolution for God?
For the fully Christian life is a Eucharistic life: that is, a natural life conformed to the pattern of Jesus, given in its wholeness to God, laid on his altar as a sacrifice of love, and consecrated, transformed by his inpouring life, to be used to give life and food to other souls.
See you in church!
THE HOLY EUCHARIST
Sunday 8:00 A.M. Rite I
HOLY EUCHARIST RITE II
Sunday 10:00 A.M.
Sunday 5:30 P.M.
CONTEMPLATIVE SUNG EVENING PRAYER
Second Thursday of the month at 7:00 p.m.
5:30 p.m. in the Chapel Monday – Thursday