Dear Apostoli Viae Family,
I am at the Sacred Heart Retreat House in Alhambra California – a joyful expression of self-giving of the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles. As many of you know, the reason I am here is to promote awareness and devotion to the person and work of Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity. By God’s grace we were able to initiate a celebration that has become the national celebration for her canonization for the United States. Today we will have a kind of festival, reflections, and then Mass provided by Archbishop Gomez.
You are all on my mind in a powerful way as I pray this morning and meditate on this event, Saint Elizabeth’s unique devotion to the Most Holy Trinity and the profound insights of Pope Benedict the XVI whom I miss in a painful way.
Pope Benedict reflects that to assume that our participation at mass is to ensure own own private spiritual health is a supreme misunderstanding of what a sacrament truly is.
He asserts that Christianity, “by its very nature, is a mystery of union. The essence of original sin is the split into individuality which knows only itself. The essence of redemption is the mending of the shattered image of God, the union of the human race through and in the one Jesus Christ.”
The challenge we face in our culture is a radical isolationism that severely damages our ability to know union with God even as faithful Catholics. Catholic culture and thus authentic Catholic community no longer exists in the U.S. except in very unusual circumstances.
Pope Benedict goes on to say, “Union is redemption for it is the realization of our likeness to God, the Three in One. But union with Him is accordingly, inseparable from and a consequence of our own unity.”
My vision for Apostoli Viae is that we restore the shattered image of God through the shattering of isolation. That we destroy the distortion of God in our time as we restore authentic Christian community.
My vision is not of a community that merely provides formation and fellowship but one that reveals and lives the truth that we cannot ascend the narrow way alone and that we must depend on others on the journey.
This dependence is not a mere affinity of the faithful but a radical authentic love that allows for vulnerability and interdependence. It is radical because it is so dramatically different from our culture. It is vulnerable because its members transcend the fear of interdependence knowing that without it, we risk a deadly isolation. When we are not vulnerable to one another, we make ourselves more vulnerable to the enemy of souls.
As the darkness descends only those who hold on tightly to God and one another will survive and provide a light to the world as it slogs into the gates of hell.
Of this I am sure to the depths of my being, the gates of hell will not prevail against the strength of one who clings to Christ, to His Church and to the expression of His Church that results in authentic and life-changing community.
God bless you. Be assured I carry you with me in prayer in a special way today.
Yours in Christ,
Dan – Unum est Necessarium