Commentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Just days before celebrating today’s Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, Bishop Daniel R. Jenky CSC of the Diocese of Peoria gave good advice to hundreds of Catholic men who had just completed a march for the faith – pray daily with your wife, bless your children every day, keep holy the Sabbath and pitch in at the parish.
According to The Catholic Post, Bishop Jenky addressed the group who had answered “A Call to Catholic Men of Faith” to march through the streets of Peoria, Illinois on the morning of April 26 to let the light of their faith shine for all to see.
“Miracles happen if we invite God to be a part of our lives,” the Bishop told the men in a homily at the Mass following the march.
For instance, not a day should go by without a shared prayer with their wives, he advised.
“You were all married in Christ, so your relationship should be grounded in Christ,” he said, and suggested reading Scripture together or praying the rosary.
“Or at the very least, you might hold her hand and say the Lord’s Prayer before falling asleep no matter what else might have taken place, including arguments, in the course of the day.”
He also encouraged men to pray with their children and be sure to bless them every night before they fall asleep.
Men should take responsibility for keeping the Sabbath holy and making sure the family attends Sunday Mass. If they know of someone who is no longer practicing the faith, he suggested that they add a weekday Mass every week for their intentions.
“God’s endless power and your persistent prayer, and your willingness to give a timely word of witness, may bring them back to the Lord,” said Bishop Jenky.
Should God give them an opportunity to share the faith with someone who is angry or disillusioned with the Church, they should take the time to “listen to them, talk to them, witness to them.”
He also encouraged them to get involved in their parishes and communities.
“There is snow to be shoveled, grass to be cut, porches to be repaired, walls to be painted, hymns to be sung, kids to be coached, envelopes to be counted, and committees to be staffed,” the bishop said, reminding them that “what you do for others, you are doing it really for the Lord.”
The men began the day by gathering on the banks of the Illinois River where nearly a dozen priests were on hand to hear confessions. This was followed by a pre-march rally in which they heard inspirational talks from priests, prayed and recited the Litany of St. Joseph.
“Imagine if someone were to discover the cure for cancer, or how to produce limitless energy, or how to help the Chicago Cubs win a national pennant. It would be unthinkable to keep that kind of miraculous information a secret,” he said.
And yet Christians hear the most wonderful good news ever proclaimed – Jesus’ victory over sin and death – and “act as if their faith were only a private, personal matter.”
He added: “If you are not psyched up about Christ and passionate about the truth of the Gospel, you aren’t much of a Catholic man.”
Christianity is too radical a way of life for the noncommittal man.
“If I don’t get up every morning determined to be on fire for Jesus Christ, my Christianity is basically a lie and my life of faith a failure,” he said.
On this feast of Saint Joseph the Worker, let us pray for the men in our lives – our spouses, fathers, brothers, uncles, nephews, friends and especially our pastors and priests – that they might be militant men of faith whose hearts are on fire for Christ!
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