Striving for Deeper Holiness: August 15, 2021

PASTOR’S WEEKLY SPIRITUAL MESSAGE

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Friends, in the liturgy of the church we celebrate today the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. With the angels and saints, we rejoice in the Blessed Virgin Mary being taken into heaven, having a right place at the right side of her Son. It's just not hard to imagine the joy of this final unity of Jesus with his own mom.

When I think about that story, what comes to mind is number of years ago, I was really in need of intercession of someone, as I was trying to get the driver's license here in Chicago and I didn't speak any English. Because of that, I had to ask the help of a friend of mine who spoke very good English to go with me and to help me with the paperwork and the logistics of getting signed up and so forth, so I could take a driving test. Because of his intercession on my behalf, I was able to pass very easily not only the written part, but also the driving part, and his presence made all the difference in the world.

I always think about that example when I think about the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary in our lives, in our spiritual lives as Christians. Mary is the chief intercessor of all Christians. Jesus gave Mary to us as the one who intercedes for us, prays for us, as the one who pleads our cause before her Son, because there is no doubt that as a mother, she has a special relationship with her Son, Jesus Christ. Mary is the first intercessor, knowing God's language, speaking God's language. Speaking the language of heaven, Mary can intercede for us here on earth. She can be such a helpful and powerful intercessor for you and for me. That's why here at Saint Clement, we have a shrine dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and I'm always overjoyed when I see all the candles behind me always lit on Sunday evenings as people come light the candles, which symbolize their own prayers being united with the prayer of the Blessed Virgin Mary for people who are close to their hearts.

Friends, here at Saint Clement, we are so busy heading toward the end of summer. We have so much stuff going on. We still have our Wine Down Wednesdays. We still offer our Saturday hospitality after the five o'clock Mass. We are so fortunate to welcome so many new members to the parish, and my invitation to you is, if you are new, I hope you join us starting in September for our first Sunday Mass blessing and reception for all new members of Saint Clement. We'd love you not only to meet our parishioners and to meet each other, but also to feel part of the family and the community that we cherish so much. This fall, we also will start many courses, especially Alpha, as a way of helping you to go deeper in your faith. I invite you all to consider joining me for Alpha or the Alpha Enrichment program or the Faith and Science course or so many other things that we'll do this summer in order for all of us to go deeper in faith. In just two weeks here at Saint Clement, we'll begin "The Chosen". "The Chosen" is a series of movies with a discussion guide, beautifully explaining the life of Jesus and of his disciples. I invite you to join "The Chosen" group to have a discussion, to go deeply into reflection on who is Jesus and who we are as God's creation as his sons and daughters.

Friends, with all my heart, I thank every one of you who stepped up this summer to help to make this parish better, stronger, and more welcoming to all. The more I look at Saint Clement, the more convinced I am of how many powerful intercessors we have here, people who pray on behalf of others, people who support others, people who they care of those in need. That intercession is a gift of God. God needs all of us to make a next step in interceding for someone and praying for someone and leading someone into fuller communion with you. Imagine if every single member of Saint Clement, all 3,800 families, would feel that they are all intercessors of at least one or two people in their lives, praying for them, leading them to God. Imagine what we could do together if we all recognize how much grace God places in our hearts. I invite you toward the the end of the summer to reflect together with me on how God is making and inviting you to make a next step into interceding for others and practicing faith here at Saint Clement. God bless you all!