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Dear Parishioners,

Have you ever heard of St. Ignatius of Antioch? It is not the same Ignatius that Fr. Jirak always talks about (that’s St. Ignatius of Loyola)! St. Ignatius of Antioch lived much earlier, being martyred in the early part of the second century. He is considered a “Father of the Church.”  The Romans at that time were persecuting Christians, and so led Ignatius, a famous bishop, on a trek across the Roman Empire in chains on the way to the Coliseum, hoping that the sight would dissuade people from joining the radical new religion. Many desired to rescue him, but St. Ignatius would not allow it. He says in his letter to the Romans, “I write to the Churches to impress upon them all that I shall willingly die for God, unless you hinder me. I beg you not to show an unseasonable goodwill toward me. Let me become food for the wild beasts, through whose favor it will be granted me to attain to God. I am the wheat of God, so let me be ground by the teeth of the wild beasts, that I may be found the pure bread of Christ.”

We are all broken in some way, some more broken, and some less.  The longer we walk in life, it seems, the more hurts and wounds we pick up, as those we become vulnerable to betray our trust in some way, wittingly or unwittingly, large or small. And when we sin, we open those wounds even more. What is the solution? Where might we find healing? Millions of dollars are spent in this country on therapy, and even more money, I would wager, is spent on little distractions to help ease the pain of our brokenness. Psychological help is good, and so is leisure, but the Lord offers a different option, Himself: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

Just like the broken, ground bits of bread are put together, then transformed into the body of Christ, so it is with us. We are broken by the “teeth of wild beasts,” stitched together with a few of our own efforts, and finally transformed by God into something very great indeed. This is why encountering the Eucharist is the greatest possible mode of healing. St.  Therese of Liseuix says, “Receive Communion often, very often... there you have the sole remedy, if you want to be cured. Jesus has not put this attraction in your heart for nothing.”  The remedy of all hurts and wounds is the Eucharist. And yet many of us walk by, or drop children off at school, and don’t give a thought to visiting Him in the Blessed Sacrament. Eucharistic devotion, both in Adoration and at Mass, are the true healing remedy for the world. Let us finish this Lent strong, with Eucharistic fervor. Holy Week is the most important time of year in the Church, and I would encourage you to attend as many of the events as possible and receive Holy Communion.  This week we celebrate the God-man who was broken for us. This week celebrate our redemption.

Please pray for me, and know of my prayers for all of you. Christ often chooses the most broken people to be his priests and ministers, and to accomplish His saving work, that they might know none of the work is theirs, but only His.

Thomas Skinner

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