Praised be Jesus Christ! Before revealing the answers to last week’s quiz, I failed to mention what a perfect score would earn you.... an invitation to Father Sedlacek’s birthday party on August 21st! If Father balks at this and says I failed to consult him, tell him that the Lord loves a cheerful giver. Okay, drum roll please.... the answers are as follows: 1) Genesis and Revelation, 2) Mary’s conception without sin; 3) Saint Luke; 4) fast for 1 hour, believe in the Real Presence (i.e. practicing Catholic), and no mortal sin; 5) Heaven, Purgatory, Earth; 6) St. Francis of Assisi; 7) Cain, Abel, Seth; 8) Saint Luke; 9) Yes – Tuesday, August 15th; 10) 3. Well, how did you do? If you got a perfect score, then you’re welcome to meet Father Sedlacek at the rectory at 10:00 p.m. on August 21st – he will be leading a snipe hunt as this is an ancient Czech tradition used for celebrating birthdays. By the way, please do not ring the doorbell, as I will be sleeping (and I’ve been on enough snipe hunts for one lifetime!). Now let’s transition into a topic apropos of our spiritual growth: reading. Do you like to read? Some people do, some don’t, but for those who do, it’s one of the finest ways to learn more about our faith and about life in general. For example, I read a book earlier this year titled Illuminations by Mary Sharratt that was absolutely enlightening and inspiring. Based on the life of Hildegard of Bingen (d. 1179), the book does an amazing job of showing how God’s will can shape a person and forge true holiness, and all of this in spite of many obstacles that would have seemingly made it impossible. Hildegard was recently made a Doctor of the Church, just the fourth woman so honored (joining Saints Catherine of Siena, Teresa of Avila, and Therese of Lisieux). This is a book you would enjoy reading and your faith would grow as you witnessed how suffering always goes hand in hand with a deepening faith. Another book that married couples would benefit from reading is A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken. “Van” was a good friend of C.S. Lewis and his love for his wife was deepened by the suffering they endured. An excellent book about family life is titled The Story of a Family and describes the crucible that was the life of the Saint Zelie and Saint Louis Martin family, a family that brought into the world arguably its greatest modern saint, Therese of Lisieux. God’s ways are not our ways and this book helps us to accept God’s will, especially when it is at odds with what we expected our life would be. On a lighter note, All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr is a great story about the admixture of light and darkness that characterizes both the world and the human heart. Finally, The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown tells of the remarkable determination of the 1936 U.S. men’s Olympic rowing team and is sure to inspire. Now for those of you who do not enjoy reading (and maybe none of you are reading this column!), there are countless resources that offer great formation for heart and soul. You are already aware of the website Formed that is a portal to many video series, movies, and other materials. We’ll be offering sessions for married couples beginning in October and will use some of these very same materials. You have access to these things because we have a generous parish that can afford to pick up the tab (in other words, we could not do this without all of you who faithfully give). Another source of learning that does not include reading would be inspiring movies. You are always welcome to join us when we host our “Movie of the Month” – we watch a variety of films, from lives of the saints to true stories of heroism. Allow me to conclude by saying “Congratulations” to those of you aced the quiz! Now go get those snipe!
May God increase our knowledge of the faith so that we will more consistently practice what we preach!
Your friend in Christ, Father Martin