Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Goodbye, St Andrew's

Today’s Gospel (Mt 8:23-27) is a fitting one to end on here with the St Andrew’s blog site (which will continue via my GW posts). It is all about faith which is the obvious theme of so many Gospel passages. But, the story of the Apostles in the boat with our Lord amid “a violent storm” is especially pertinent to many of us bloggers. The Lord immediately calms the storm when the Apostles turn to him in faith. Their faith is not perfect; Christ sort of blasts them for having “little faith”. But, they do show faith in him in the midst of stress and suffering and they are rewarded for their confidence in his power.

So many bloggers have posted their insightful reflections about faith here the past three years. Some have written with big faith, others with little faith. Some have a mature faith that will ride out the storms with God no matter what; others have struggled to stay in the boat (the Church) because God won’t show His power in calming their storms immediately. But, folks, here’s the thing: it’s all faith in Christ. If you’re reading this post, then you have faith. If you’ve posted on here before, then you have faith. Even if it’s little faith, it is still very powerful, as the Gospel story teaches us. If you feel like your faith is little or immature, please stay in the boat and continue to turn to our Lord amid the storms of your life with confidence. He may not calm your storms immediately, but I promise that eventually He will give you “great calm”. I promise He will give you peace eventually. God is peace. He cannot not give you peace if you turn to Him.

As Catholics, we put our faith in many things: Christ, Scripture, Tradition, the Magisterium, the priesthood, the sacraments, etc. I have been so humbled and inspired by the faith of our parishioners and bloggers. Thanks be to God, faith in Him has grown here so much in so many ways: in the Eucharist, in the Church, in Confession, in prayer, in Scripture, in the intercession of the Blessed Mother and the saints, in the priesthood, etc. Along with Fr. Mike, I am particularly grateful for the faith that you have shown in the priesthood of Jesus Christ through us.

The past few days and weeks have been a little bit different for me. It’s been all good (!), but different. I became a priest in order to be Christ in the boat…to bring his power and grace to people amid the storms of their lives. It has been absolutely awesome to be Christ to them at such pivotal moments! So many times, they barely even knew me, and yet came to me like they would come to Christ: with faith and seeking help. It was really between them and the Lord; I was just a vessel of His Grace. I understand why people thank their priests and it’s great that they do, but, as a priest, I am here to serve as alter Christus (another Christ), not to be thanked. In fact, I am the one who should be thanking them and God for allowing me to be a part of the whole amazing situation. It’s an indescribable honor and gift to be another Christ in the boat, calming the storms of people’s lives through His Power.

While today’s title says goodbye, this is not goodbye. I will be back to visit on occasion and will see many of you at future DC ‘Hood games. Also, we will see each other in prayer. Please pray for me and all priests, that we will be faithful. I will pray for you every day – many of you by name. I hope that you will continue to grow in your faith in Christ as a parish centered on the Eucharist and living the Gospel of Love. May God continue to bless you abundantly. Thank you, St Andrew’s!! I love you all.


At 1:06 PM, Anonymous Webster said...

Fr. Greg:

Please know how appreciative we are as a parish to have you and Fr. Mike challenge us spiritually and awaken/enliven our faith. This isn't a goodbye, because we will continue our dialogue through prayer and the Eucharist. Please know that you will always have a home at St. Andrew's. God bless.

At 1:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, so if you don't want a thank you directed to you personally, which I can understand, then let us say "thanks be to God" that some men hear the call to serve His people. The calling to the priesthood may be difficult to hear as it might be spoken in a varied cadence and pitch, but "thanks be to God", there are men out there, like yourself that took, and are taking the time to listen and think about the sounds around them. In your case, the end result of listening to your calling is a heart that yells of love - love for the Redskins, and more importantly, love for the peace Christ offers.

Let us pray that the Holy Spirit gives priests the energy and fortitude needed to speak with a voice that draws others to share in His peace.

At 2:41 PM, Anonymous The Vinh's said...

Not just "alter Christus," but in the administration of the Sacraments, "in persona Christi."

Andy and I are going to miss you, Father, and are sorry we couldn't make it to the reception.

You're going to meet little Robert Qui in August, no?

At 3:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The timing of things always strikes me as amazing. I’ve mentioned here before that I am in a recovery program. Fr. Greg has helped me in talking about some of my issues there. Recently I completed the intensive part of the recovery program and opted to go into the continuing recovery phase of the program which meant I changed counselors. This happened around the time that FG announced he was leaving SAA. My new counselor is a man of great faith. His demeanor and persona could be nothing farther from that of FG, but their words are so similar. This new man has offered me much in the way of healing physically, emotionally and spiritually through Christ. In talking with him about my feelings regarding FG’s leaving, he suggested I fill that “whole in my heart” with all the things I’ve learned from him and my memories of the times we have shared. FG and I have shared some fun times! So, this morning when I said good bye, FG said, “This isn’t good bye,” but at the moment it sure felt that way. However, in thinking about the words of my counselor and reading FG’s comment on this post about being united in prayer, it strikes me as true that no one really ever says good bye. St. Andrew’s will greatly miss FG, but what is most important- what he taught about and loved so much remains intact.

At 10:50 PM, Blogger Ryan said...

Fr. Greg:
We'll pray for you and your students that you will now be guiding at GW. Trying to encourage college students to think for themselves with a mind towards Christ is a big task, but your demeanor and patience is perfect for explaining that reason can inform faith and vice-versa. We at St. Andrew's have seen the courage that God has provided to you in giving some very direct and inspiring homilies on tough issues, and we know that you will bring that same courage to helping GW students develop a strong faith that can speak truth to a world that often pushes back. We'll miss you, but know that you've been a vehicle for giving many of us at St. A's greater personal courage ourselves. Thanks, and come back often!

At 12:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fr. Greg,

I know you say not to thank you, but I cannot tell you how significant and meaningful your support has been to me over the past few months. Thank you for being willing to answer my repetitive and disputable "Melissa Questions." You demonstrate your faith through your everyday actions and lead by example. As the members of AAS church have taught you to love, you teach those around you how to love. Among other things, thank you for being capable of being a vessel of God's love.

Ever grateful,

At 9:02 PM, Blogger Ellen said...

All the best on your new assignment.


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