Transformative Love PART TWO of a two-part article
Last week, I acknowledged the stubbornness of moral failures. We sense our kinship with St. Paul who wrote: “The good thing I want to do, I don’t do, and the evil thing I don’t want to do is what I do.” I also wrote that John of the Cross offers two strategies to overcome moral failure, the first being to cauterize our bad habits, to burn them out by growing our virtues. Attacking our bad habits directly (the “cold turkey” method) rarely works because our focus is on the bad habit itself. This adds negative energy to the battle. Success comes more predictably as we grow our virtues to the point they “burn out” the bad habits.
The second of John’s strategies (paths as he calls them) is love itself. I said the hint Jesus offers for our transcendence was in the gospel for last Sunday (Mk. 12: 28-34). Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The deepest root undergirding the propensity for a bad habit is love itself. Surprise. Our bad habits are motivated by love. Have you ever said, “Oh, how I love ____!”? How you fill in that blank, that is the name of the god with whom you are in relationship. Love is the best of all energies, the very fire of the image and likeness of God within us. It is by moving love into a higher framework that this best-of-all-energies can be directed for the less selfish, more respectful acts that “glorify God.” Narcissism is reduced in the process. It is no wonder why this love takes all our heart, soul, mind and strength.
Removing a bad habit or behavior in our lives requires recognizing and honoring the energy that lies beneath it. Resetting this energy into a higher framework of love that is less selfish works because it is the opposite of repression of an instinct. It uses the very energy that keeps us hooked to choose a more fruitful path to maturity. The criticism aimed so often at people of faith is that we are repressed and trying to make everyone else so: “Why should you force your religion on me?” they argue. Love and faith both grow in relationships. Our choice of “the Other” with whom we choose to grow makes the difference. We honor the very energy that empowers and frees us to live with dignity and intimacy during our journey of faith from god to God. Love can hook you to FILL IN BLANK or to FILL IN BLANK. It’s your choice. In either case, you are using the best-of-all-energies to build a relationship.
Our slavery to god exists because the creator God respects our free will and the choices we make. “You have to relate long enough, live in patience long enough, and develop enough maturity so that, at a point, understanding arises out of a certain co-empathy…When we are loving enough we begin to understand.” (Rev. Ron Rolheiser)
It is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, the real savior, that sets you so free and death has a hold on you no longer. Isn’t it a sweet paradox that our greatest freedom lies within the bond of love?
Such is God, not god.
Each week our bulletin has an additional page of information that we share. Take a moment and open the link (open here)
WHO: Tri-Parish Event sponsored by St. Paul, Sacred Heart, and St. Andrew Churches
WHAT: Nativity display ( Parishioners are asked to loan their nativity sets for the weekend.)
WHEN: Displays can be seen Dec. 8th from 5:30 to 6:30 & Dec. 9th from 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
WHERE: St. Paul Social Center - 453 West 16th St.
COST: A free-will offering will benefit Erie Dawn, which provides housing for families.
THE PUBLIC IS INVITED...Bring your friends and neighbors!
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The parish of Saint Andrew, a welcoming, joyful and renewing Catholic community, dedicates itself to serving all of God’s people with the love of Jesus Christ and His mission.
We welcome new members. To be a member of St. Andrew Parish you must be registered. All those out of high school should be registered individually. Parish membership is required to be a sponsor at Baptism and Confirmation, to be married in the parish, or to have a child baptized. Click here to view the registration form.
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Call Beth with questions (454-2486)
If you are hearing Wedding Bells! Congratulations on your engagement! To see more details about being married at St. Andrew, please click at the Education menu and click again at Pre-Cana, and click at Marriage Preparation at St. Andrew. This is a print off of information you will need stating fees that are detailed. $300 for the use of the church if you are not a member, fees for the organist and cantor. It is difficult to mention costs, yet knowing how important it is for you to have the very best for your wedding day, we at Saint Andrew want to service you the very best as well. Please call 454-2486 with questions. click here for brochure
FAMILY FAITH FORMATION SURVEY
The purpose of this survey is to gain a better understanding about your faith journey, so that we can make recommendations to our pastor and Faith Formation Team. Please if you could take the time to print this survey and return it to the collection basket or the Faith Formation office we would greatly appreciate it. Thank you so much for giving us your time. Please (click here for the survey).
Weekday Masses are in The Annunciation Chapel (located in the white building by the parking lot). The Mass times in our Chapel are: 8:00 a.m. on Mon., Tues., Thurs., & Fri. There is No Wed. mass.
Saint Andrew and Saint Jude
Ken Adams; 814-440-7813
1:30-4:00pm every other Tuesday
Food and clothing are available.
We are able to serve anyone in the neighborhood within our Second Harvest boundaries and all parishioners in need.
THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH TO; GANNON UNIVERSITY, SEW WHAT SEWING GROUP & THE BOB EVANS GROUP ON UPPER PEACH ST. Your contributions mean sooooooooooo much to our clients!!
8:00 a.m. to noon
12:30 p. m. to 4:00 p. m.
Wednesday, closed all day.
Sunday: 8:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.
Holy Day Eucharist
or as marked in bulletin