As some of you know, I have been gone this past week. I was gone attending the “Spiritual Director Training Program” through the “Institute of Priestly Formation” (or IPF for short). This program that I am doing is actually a nine-week program over the course of three years; so every April, October, and January for the next three years I will be gone for one week.
This program will help me be a better spiritual father to you all, and help me better guide people in their own spiritual life. For this program, we learn more about the dynamics of prayer and conversion, the dynamics of inner healing, about contemplative listening, and rules for discernment of spirits.
But the whole program is built on the foundational idea that a priest only draws people closer to Christ because of his own personal, intimate, deep friendship with Christ. So even more than learning “techniques” or “strategies” the program helps us to become more attuned to our own interior movements and the work of Christ in us.
But I think this is a good reminder lesson not only for priests but for every one of us. That for each of us to draw others closer to Christ, we must first begin with our own pursuit of Christ, and grow in deep, personal, and intimate friendship with Him, because everything else flows from there.
Our faith isn’t just a bunch of rules, and prayer isn’t just about the experience we get. But it all begins with a real relationship with a real living person. That 1) Jesus is REAL 2) Jesus is ALIVE and 3) Jesus is SHARING HIMSELF with me.
And not only is it about experiencing and receiving the wondrous mystery of His life but also, the wondrous mystery that He delights and rejoices in receiving our love!
The Jesus Christ wants YOU! Desires to be in relationship with YOU! And delights and rejoices to be in friendship with YOU!
PS: As was announced at Masses last weekend, I am happy to say that Fr. Frantz will remain with us for the coming year as well! We are delighted and grateful to have him! And as we get more past this COVID thing, when you feel comfortable, I strongly encourage you to invite Fr. Frantz for a meal (whether eating out or in your home; whether just him or the both of us) so that you all can continue to get to know him personally better!