Experiences serve to bolster faith - Catholic Courier
Matthew H. Clark Matthew H. Clark

Experiences serve to bolster faith

We were concerned about poor driving conditions on Sunday, and came
close to canceling a scheduled reunion liturgy for our teens who had
journeyed to Houston in November for the National Catholic Youth
Convention. As it turned out, we went ahead with the event at Guardian
Angels Parish because there seemed no effective way to call it off at
the 11th hour.

As it turned out, I am glad that we didn’t cancel. About 175 people
attended the celebration, which allowed us all a chance to revisit and
draw new energy from a common and very happy experience.

In addition to the pleasure of their company, which is always a
cause for joy, I had yet another experience of the wonderful faith of
our young people. I really do believe that they came to the liturgy in
Advent spirit. They believe that God is with them. They truly do. But
they also realize full well that God’s work is not complete in any of
us. And they know that there is much all around them that is inimical
to their faith convictions. So we prayed in faith and confidence Sunday
that what God has so graciously begun in us, God will one day bring to
completion. I am firmly convinced that when our young people gather
together they strengthen one another in faith. I know that they do that
for me whenever I am privileged to share their company.

But it’s not only the younger set that offers this life-giving
witness. Although in a different way, I suppose, my generation and
those senior to it do the same thing.

I know that that was my experience when I visited the St. Ann’s
Community for an Advent liturgy on Saturday evening. Here are men and
women who have seen a lot of life. I suspect that their Advent prayer
is rooted in the same themes that ground the Advent longings of our
young people. But the length and variety of their experience, the
culture of their youth and the great events of their lifetimes surely
lend a different tone to their longings for the fullness of life, which
is Christ’s promise to us.

I often wish in the midst of such assemblies that I could know the
personal human and faith stories of those present. My intuition is that
they would contain an extraordinary measure of generosity and stories
of sacrificial service to others above and beyond normal
expectation.

What I do know is that I never leave their company without a sense
of gratitude for their cordial hospitality, the spirit with which they
participate in the Eucharistic liturgy and the witness of their faith.
Somehow they seem at home even away from their lifetime homes. I know
that the care offered by all at St. Ann’s Community has much to do with
that. But I am convinced also that the foundation of such a disposition
is their belief that Christ is always with them, and that where he is,
there is our home.

I hope that Advent has been good for your spiritual life, that you
have had time for prayer and thought about the place of Christ in your
life.

The Catholic Courier will not publish again until its issue
of Jan. 8. In view of that fact, let me offer to you and your loved
ones a most blessed Christmas. My prayer is for you to experience the
feast as one in which God truly is with us.

Peace to all.

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