Having completed the celebration of the liturgical seasons which highlight various aspects of the mystery of our redemption, today we simply celebrate the mystery of God himself: one God in three divine persons. No human categories can adequately express the mystery of God. When we speak of the three divine persons, for example, we must resist the temptation to conceive of the Trinity as three people who are all God. A profession of faith from the fourth or fifth century called the Athanasian Creed says: “There is one person of the Father, another of the Son, another of the Holy Spirit. But the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit have one divinity, equal glory and coeternal majesty…The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. However, there are not three gods, but one God.” And so on.
It has been said that the whole of the Christian faith can be summed up in the Trinity. Notice that both the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed are Trinitarian in structure. As complicated as our attempts to conceptualize the Triune God may be, what it comes down to is this: everything comes from God and belongs to him. We have been created in the image of a God who is a community of persons and so we have been designed by him as social beings. Through the incarnation of God the Son becoming man, God reached out to us and, by redeeming us, drew us into his embrace and into the mystery of his very life. Having been baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, we have been consecrated and made living temples of God. The goal of this “sanctifying grace” is total union with God in heaven. So as God has given us himself, let us give ourselves entirely to him in order to receive one day a heavenly reward.
Today we honor the men who are the heads of households and the guardians of their families. They are to reflect to their families the steadfast love of God, “from whom all fatherhood is derived.” “Steadfast” means they can be counted upon, that they will not abandon those entrusted to their care. They are to be virtuous in the fullest sense of that word. The Latin root of the word “virtue” means “strength.” The same root is also apparent in the Latin word for a man, vir. To be a virtuous father is to be truly manly, strong and steadfast. Isn’t that what we count on fathers to be? So let us ask God’s blessing upon fathers and the grace to fulfill the vocation God has entrusted to them. At the same time we are reminded of the honor due to fathers according to the scriptures: “The Lord sets a father in honor over his children. He who honors his father atones for sins. He who reveres his father will live a long life. In word and deed honor your father that his blessing may come upon you, for a father’s blessing gives a family firm roots. Kindness to a father will not be forgotten, it will serve as a sin offering—it will take lasting root.” (Cf. Sirach 3:2a, 3, 6a, 8-9a, 14)
Our parishes’ fiscal year ends on June 30. Pledges to the Diocesan Annual Appeal must be received by that date to be credited for this year. Please honor your pledges to the Appeal and continue your support of our parishes. St. Peter Parish has $2,193 to go. St. Charles Parish has $9,631 to go. These targets could easily be reached if everyone would give something. This is a fundamental duty of parish membership. Please help us meet our financial obligations.
Reaching our short-term goals by the end of the fiscal year is important. St. Charles Parish has also set an additional five-year goal of $2.5 million to build an accessible parish center and finish the parking lot. This goal is in addition to our regular parish support. Together we can reach our goals and surpass them. May the intercession and example of St. Charles Borromeo help us.
From Thursday through Saturday morning the priests of our diocese will be gathered in La Crosse for Priest Unity Days. This annual gathering will conclude with the ordination Saturday morning of two new priests, Brandon Guenther and Ethan Hokamp. Consequently there will be no Mass at St. Peter on Friday morning, June 21.
Pray the rosary this week for the success of St. Charles Parish’s capital campaign, for the priests of our diocese as they gather in La Crosse later this week, and for the two to be ordained on Saturday. Pray for the seminarians studying for our diocese and, as always, pray for peace.
May God bless his people with peace.