Your Friend in Christ, Father Martin
Praised be Jesus Christ! Constructive criticism, while not always wanted or easily welcomed by us, generally is the way we grow and become more what God wants us to be. Sometimes priests receive anonymous mail – most of us were trained not to read it because it will only serve to upset us without having any hope of a future discussion with the person who sent it. For whatever reason, I have always read the anonymous mail that comes my way . . . . and it’s safe to say that a large percentage of it is not useful in any way. Just the same, once in a while the person has some good insights and the latest letter falls into that category. A self-proclaimed “old lady” suggested that we need to hear more about the 10 Commandments – “that’s the way to make America great again!” I agree. I think the letter was hinting at a lack of clarity in homilies these days and I know there’s room for improvement in my preaching. Whatever Became of Sin? is a book written by Karl Menninger back in 1973 (a fantastic year, incidentally) – its thesis is easily intuited, namely nobody talks about sin anymore. These days living together before marriage or using illicit drugs have become so common that it’s considered bad manners to claim that a person is living in sin. Only when the moral law is effectively taught can we hope to find true freedom and not the addictions that ensue when we always do what we feel like doing. A good illustration of this occurs in Evelyn Waugh’s book Brideshead Revisited (probably my favorite book of all time): Julia and Charles are having an extra-marital affair and this complicates the lives of their family who feel compromised by their sin. At one point Julia’s brother refuses to bring his fianceé to lunch because she knows they are “living in sin.” Julia is offended and incensed, so she responds with these timeless words, “’Living in sin’; not just doing wrong, as I did when I went to America; doing wrong, knowing it is wrong, stopping doing it, forgetting. That’s not what they mean . . . living in sin, with sin, by sin, for sin, every hour, every day, year in, year out. Waking up with sin in the morning, seeing the curtains drawn on sin, bathing it, dressing it . . .” Now the anonymous letter referred to above suggests that more concrete and blunt discussion about the 10 Commandments would better form consciences so that people would know right from wrong and choose wisely. Once again, I agree. For Lent, this column will be dedicated to candid articles about what is sinful and what is not. Because we are all compromised by sin to one degree or another, this will be offensive at times and may upset a few of you along the way. Should you be really perturbed, you’re welcome to write and tell me . . . . and now that you know that I read anonymous mail, you don’t even have to take responsibility for what you’ve written. As you can see, this column is coming to a close and next week’s issue will be a tour de force of what spiritual opportunities are available for Lent. But before I close, let’s briefly meditate on the 1st Commandment: “I am the Lord your God; you shall not put false gods before me.” If you miss Mass on Sundays because of anything other than illness or unavoidable travel or work then you are putting something or someone else before God and that is a serious sin, one that usually requires confession before we can receive Holy Communion again (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2181). Please take this as the encouragement it is meant to be. May God, who wrote the law on our hearts, give us the grace, courage, and humility to try to live it!
Your Friend in Christ, Father Martin
Monday - Friday: 7:00 AM
Saturday: 8:00 AM
Saturday: 4:30 & 7:00 PM
Sunday: 7:00, 9:00 & 11:00 AM
Tuesday–Friday: 6:30 - 6:50 AM
First Friday: 6:00-7:00 PM
Saturday:3:45 -4:15 PM & 6:15 -6:45 PM
PERPETUAL ADORATION: The Marshfield Deanery has the John Paul II Adoration Chapel located in the basement of St. John the Baptist Parish, at 201 W. Blodgett St. The chapel is accessible from the rear parking lot. For more information or to sign up:
contact Dale at 715-383-2262 or Jean Kaiser 715-387-0571. Click on the image below for more information.
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Welcome to St. John the Baptist Catholic Church! Ever since 1877 this parish has been assisting souls in their quest for deeper union with God. Pope John Paul II called the parish a “school of prayer” and St. John’s is committed to promoting growth in holiness in every state in life. Each of us is called... Read More
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