Relationship…


The afternoon had been advertised as:  an “Afternoon of Prayer & Sharing at Christ the King Retreat House” and an opportunity to enjoy a light lunch with Bishop Cunningham on Saturday, June 27th at 1:00PM.  The gathering was just one of many that our Most Reverend Robert J. Cunningham had been holding with groups throughout the diocese since his installation as bishop.  I was looking forward to seeing so many of my brother deacons and their wives.  However, I never expected to plumb the essence of ministerial  perfection…

Gregory_of_Nyssa

St. Gregory of Nyssa

Our gathering opened with an LOH daytime prayer variation:  psalm, short reading and then comments from Bishop Cunningham.  His remarks were complimentary–thanking the Deacon Community for their ministry of Word & Charity, commending our wives for their support and service, as well.  However, the heart of his address focused on maintaining our healthy relationship with Jesus Christ–particularly through daily prayer and recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours.  In essence, Bishop Cunningham asserted, “Christ should be manifest in our whole life.”

On reflection later that day, my thoughts turned to Saint Gregory of Nyssa’s treatise on Christian Perfection in Tuesday’s (12th Week in Ordinary Time) Office of Readings:

The life of the Christian has three distinguishing aspects:  deeds, words and thought. [..] So when one of these results in our acting or speaking or thinking, we must make sure that all our thoughts, words and deeds are controlled by the divine ideal, the revelation of Christ. For then our thoughts, words and deeds will not fall short of the nobility of their implications.

Yes, the life of the ordained minister is challenged at every turn. However, if we maintain a healthy, vital relationship with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we possess the “divine ideal”, touching “The mind of Christ [..] that inspires us to moderation and goodness in our behavior.” (PG 46, 283-286)

Relationship: in our parish families, among our lay and ordained ministers… but most importantly with our Lord himself.  A timely reminder from the new shepherd of our diocese;  a reminder most certainly grounded in his experience and the wisdom of our Church Fathers; a powerful reminder on the essence of Christian perfection…

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