Dear Parish Family,
October is designated by the Catholic Bishops of the United States to be a time specially dedicated to "Respect for all Life." Central to being a follower of Jesus is to promote the dignity of every person. This is obviously a great challenge in our day for lots of reasons. There are many competing voices about what "dignity" really means like, both at the earliest stages of life in the womb and also at the vulnerable end stages of life during old age or terminal illness. As followers of Jesus we have a unique and life giving message that we must never grow tired or be bullied about being silent; namely that every life has meaning and value.
As Christians, we believe that Jesus came to bring light to even the darkest and most desperate situations. Dealing with an unplanned pregnancy or the diagnosis of a terminal illness are places that Christ shows up most profoundly to pierce the darkness, and we His Church, are called to accompany those in fearful and desperate circumstances. I know from my pastoral experience that many people suffer from the trauma of a past abortion that affects them in serious ways. So let us pray especially for women who are tempted to have an abortion, and all those who have participated in them in the past. Let us pray for their healing and reconciliation with themselves and God. Our Holy Father Pope Francis is calling all pastors of the Church to reach out in love and bring them to the mercy of Jesus and a pathway to renewed spirit. St. John Paul II says it is often those who have experienced this healing who become the "most eloquent supporters of all life!"
I take this opportunity also to let you know that I am preaching at all the weekend masses on the topic of marijuana use. As you may remember I represent our parish in an organization called "One Voice". Along with other faith leaders in our county, we discern a social illness that is affecting all of us and then plan a weekend when we will speak to our respective communities with "one voice." In the past we addressed two issues: prescription drug use and suicide. As faith leaders we address the topic from our unique religious tradition. This weekend I will open our hearts to the challenges that Marijuana use has for individuals. Do you know of someone that is struggling with Marijuana use? We are called to care for one another in God's love. It can be hard seeing someone struggle with addiction. Through my message this weekend I hope to bring a natural focus to the topic that promotes more attention, discussion and preparedness for you.
Did you know that at the root of drug abuse is a spiritual dilemma? Most young people who get involved in using drugs are escaping great emotional and psychological pain. Study after study clearly demonstrates that those who are religiously affiliated, who have a living relationship with God are dramatically less likely to experiment or fall victim to drug abuse of any kind.
When I have sat with someone who is in recovery, most of the time they tell me about someone who was diligently praying for them while they were an active user. Let us pray that our families with teenagers and young adults will seek spiritual strength that comes from the truth of Christ to face their underlying problems and may our community of St. Magdalen's provide the spiritual and emotional support to open new pathways of healing for those who are now lost in the darkness of any addiction.
October is the month of Mary. Let us ask our blessed mother to intercede for all who are seeking the truth and longing for freedom. She is our best advocate to gaining freedom in Christ her Son.
Peace and prayers,