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How Can We Forget?
Someone told me the other day that they were so busy and worked so hard all day long that they forgot to eat! Now… maybe so… but I find that hard to believe. I work hard… sometimes… but I have never forgotten to eat. Never! I’m sorry but that is one thing I will never forget; no matter how many gray cells I lose. No way, no how!
Be that as it may. We all do have a lot of work to do here… right here in our parish; and it’s very important work. It’s important that we work together to make our parish strong, faith-filled and holy. It’s important because our parish is the source of our sacramental life, which leads to our eternal life. Without our parish to feed and nurture us, to teach and guide us, we have no Mass and no sacraments. And… if we have no Mass and sacraments, what chances have we for eternal life? Simple as that!
Many people take their parish for granted. It’s always been there and it always will be there. Maybe. Maybe not! We only have to look at world history to see large areas of the world where the Church was forced underground and the flame of faith almost extinguished.
Can it happen here? Oh, yes! But I think the devil has a new weapon. He doesn’t have to use dictators, despots and persecution. He can use indifference and laziness to a greater effect. He can make us close our own parishes by our lack of involvement and our lack of commitment!
There is an old Polish story that you may have heard…. about a prince who built a beautiful church for his village. When it was completed, all the villagers came to inspect their new church. It was beautiful! A magnificent marble altar and beautiful statues, stained glass windows and paintings. As they were all admiring everything and thanking the kind prince, one of the children noticed something. There were no lamps… no lights… just brackets along the wall. The prince remarked that indeed there were no lamps. Then he gave every family a lamp and explained… everyone is needed to support the parish… to work and pray for their parish as the source of Eternal Life. So… When they came to church, they must bring their lamps and hang them on their bracket to light their part of the church. If they were absent, there would be a dark section in the church. If everyone was there, the church would be bright and beautiful.
That Polish legend is true. If some of us stay away even for a short time, the light of our parish is diminished and the power of our parish is decreased. The parish needs everyone and everyone needs the parish! That is the lesson of the church with our lamps. This church is the House of God and the Gate of Heaven. But like medicine that saves our lives, it doesn’t do any good if we just leave it in the medicine cabinet. We have to use it!!! Our parish is a medicine for Eternal Life… but we have to use it faithfully and regularly.
by Rev. Charles Jan DiMascola
Pastor Our Lady of Częstochowa, Turners Falls, Massachusetts