From the Pastor's Corner

  • By Fr. Joseph Byerley
  • 28 May, 2017

Who gets the dog?

Fr. O’Malley was walking down the street when he came upon a group of about a dozen boys, all of them be-tween 10 and 12 years of age. The group had surrounded a dog. Concerned lest the boys were hurting the dog, he went over and asked "What are you doing with that dog?" One of the boys replied, "This dog is just an old neighborhood stray. We all want him, but only one of us can take him home. So we've decided that whichever one of us can tell the biggest lie will get to keep the dog." Of course, the priest was taken aback. "You boys shouldn't be having a contest telling lies!" he exclaimed. He then launched into a ten minute ser-mon against lying, beginning, "Don't you boys know it's a sin to lie," and ending with, "Why, when I was your age, I never told a lie." There was dead silence for about a minute. Just as Fr. O’Malley was beginning to think he'd gotten through to them, the smallest boy gave a deep sigh and said, "All right, give him the dog."

It's Free, This is Heaven

This 85 year old couple, having been married almost 60 years, had died in a car crash. They had been in good health the last ten years mainly due to her interest in health food, and exercise. When they reached the pearly gates, St. Peter took them to their mansion which was decked out with a beautiful kitchen and master bath suite and Jacuzzi. As they "oohed and aahed" the old man asked St. Peter how much all this was going to cost. "It's free," St. Peter replied, "this is Heaven." Next they went out back to survey the championship golf course that the home backed up to. They would have golfing privileges eve-ryday and each week the course changed to a new one representing the great golf courses on earth. The old man asked, "What are the green fees?" St. Peter's reply, "This is heaven, you play for free." Next they went to the club house and saw the lavish buffet lunch with the cuisines of the world laid out. "How much to eat?" asked the old man. "Don't you un-derstand yet? This is heaven, it is free!" St. Peter replied with some exasperation. "Well, where are the low fat and low cholesterol tables?" the old man asked timidly. St. Peter lectured, "That's the best can eat as much as you like of whatever you like and you never get fat and you never get sick. This is Heaven." With that the old man went into a fit of anger, throwing down his hat and stomping on it, and shrieking wild-ly. St. Peter and his wife both tried to calm him down, asking him what was wrong. The old man looked at his wife and said, "This is all your fault. If it weren't for your blasted bran muffins, I could have been here ten years ago!"

The Lion and the Lamb

There is a story told, I don’t know if it’s true, about when Pope Saint John Paull II visited New York and was taken around by Henry Kissinger. They visited the Bronx Zoo and Kissinger showed the Pope one cage where a lion was with a young lamb, which snuggled up next to the lion. The Pope was amazed. "For 2000 years, we've prayed for signs of the messianic era and the prophesy that the lion will lie down next to the lamb. I see you must really be a man of peace. How did you do it?" To which Kissinger replied, "It is very easy to accomplish what you are witnessing. We simply provide the lion with a new lamb each day."

Have a blessed week!

God Bless You,

Fr. Joseph Byerely
By Fr. Joseph Byerley 08 Sep, 2017
The last “theology” book that many Catholics have read, unless they went to a Catholic high school or college, is whatever text they used for their Confirmation preparation. That’s really quite a shame. Most Catholics have really never formally studied their Catholic faith. Rightly so, they depend on the preaching of their priests to form them both spiritually and theologically. Yet is that really enough for the “average” Catholic? Not at all. No matter who we are, Priests, laypersons or Religious, the ongoing study of our Faith is essential to not just our growth in holiness, but also our basic spiritual health.
Jesus stated in the Gospel, when tempted by the Devil in the beginning of his ministry, “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God”. Revealed truth, the Word of God, then is food for us. And as Frank Sheed writes in his book, Theology for Beginners, when talking about the value of Theology, “Now it is a peculiarity of food that it nourishes only those who eat it. We are not nourished by the food that someone else has eaten. To be nourished by it, we must eat it ourselves.”
While it is true we are spiritually nourished by the Holy Eucharist when we receive it worthily and with love (as well as in our prayers), it is nonetheless true that the more we know about the Lord we receive, the greater the effect we can receive when we receive him sacramentally (and through the grace of prayer). Knowledge serves love. The more misunderstandings about God we can remove, the greater clarity we will have of our knowledge of God, which will make it easier to love Him and remain secure in our faith.
Here is an example: think about the times when you have a poor understanding of some topic. When it comes up in conversation, we can easily feel intimidated when someone seems to know more, and perhaps we even doubt our own understating of the topic. While it doesn’t really matter if the topic is for instance, what kind of new refrigerator to get, it does matter greatly when we are talking about our eternal salvation. It’s important to know what we believe and be secure in it.
I am not suggesting that a person goes out and gets the full three volume set of St. Thomas Aquinas’ watershed work, Summa Theologiae in Latin and start reading, but there are certainly a lot of wonderful texts available that are both easy to read without a theology degree and present the Faith in a coherent, complete, and most importantly - authentic and faithful manner.
The one text from Frank Sheed I mentioned above is a good start, or perhaps, What Catholics Really Believe by Karl Keating. I feel that probably everyone can read and understand the Catechism of the Catholic Church. What is most important is that we seek to learn about our faith in order to develop a mature, strong faith that is able to bear up under scrutiny. Relying on knowledge that we may just partially remember from our childhood is not the best way to remain strong in our Faith.
So go out and get one of these books. Spend a few minutes a day reading about our awesome Lord. Learn about what we believe. Develop a deeper and stronger faith. Having a well-informed, mature knowledge of our Faith is one of the best ways to protect it from harm and enable us to ultimately develop a greater love for the Lord and come ever closer to him. If you have a question about a particular text and whether it is good, or don’t understand something that you have read, feel free to talk to one of your priests - we will be happy to help!

God Bless you,

Father Joseph Byerley

By Fr. Joseph Byerley 03 Sep, 2017
As we gear up for another academic year, before anything else, I want to wish the best to all students and educators of St. Rose of Lima Parish and School. You are all in my prayers for a successful school year. From a Catholic perspective, the goal of education is to enable children to learn and develop - intellectually, physically, emotionally, and spiritually - so that they can reach their full God-given human potential to contribute to the common good of society and to deepen their relationship with the Lord, leading to eternal salvation.
I was in Catholic education as a high school teacher at Paul VI High School for seven years and I have learned that education plays a critical role in the development of young people. I urge parents to show constant vigilance upon what is going on at the school(s) where their children are present, whether a Catholic school or not. Please talk to your children every day and find out what their teachers are saying in class. Be prepared to offer a response to them when you find that they are “learning” things that go against our faith, as well as affirming the good and true things that they are taught. Being intimately involved in the education of your children is not just the duty of parents, but also a great opportunity to bring the light of Christ and his love to them. Don’t forget - the earlier the involvement starts and more constant it is, the less likely that it will seem intrusive to the children. Also don’t forget to attend every possible event in which your children participate. They may not mention it, but you can be sure that your presence means very much to them.
Now, to the students. To be honest, I never liked school. Although I have given this example many times, it still is true: I looked forward to the end of college like you can’t believe, thinking that I would never have to go to school again. Well, after six years of seminary and two of further studies (that’s eight years of school after college!); I didn’t seem to get my wish. But along the way, I did learn a lot. One thing I also disliked was doing homework. But I know, from my own experience and from working with high school students, it’s actually easier to work reasonably hard all the time and not get behind, than to let things go and then have periods of crazy activity just to throw a bunch of stuff together just to get something in on time. You end up with better grades with less stress. It’s a tough lesson to learn but it works.
Try it. Have a great year!

God Bless you,

Father Joseph Byerley
By Fr. Joseph Byerley 23 Aug, 2017
The media really does influence adolescents' behavior, and early exposure to sexual con-tent in the movies leads them to commence sexual activity at an earlier age and to take more risks. This was the conclusion of a study just published in the journal Psychological Science, titled Greater Exposure to Sexual Content in Popular Movies Predicts Earlier Sexual Debut and Increased Sexual Risk Taking. It started by noting how it is documented that the media influences adolescent behavior in such areas as alcohol and tobacco use, but that less is known about its impact on sexual behavior.

Starting sexual activity at an earlier age is associated with a greater number of partners and an increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases. More than 9 million new cases of sexual diseases occur annually among adolescents in the United States, the paper observed. Popular movies provide adolescents with a wealth of sexual exposure, much of which may promote risk behaviors, the authors commented.
They cited a survey that looked at movies released from 1950 to 2006. It showed that more than 84% contained some sexual content. In addition the survey found that the level of sexual explicitness of PG-13 and R-rated movies has increased in the past decade. Not only are adolescents influenced by what they see, but one survey found that 57% of those aged 14-16 use the media as a primary source of sexual information.

The study published in Psychological Science looked at movie sexual exposure (MVE) in those aged under 16. A longitudinal study was carried out over the period June 2003 to October 2009. It consisted in a random telephone survey of 6,522 adolescents, aged 10 to 14. After the initial contact they were followed up three subsequent times. They found that higher exposure to explicit sexual content was an accurate predictor of riskier sexual behavior. The authors said that this study confirms previous ones and also found that this exposure has a lasting influence on risky sexual behaviors in adulthood. Reducing adolescents’ viewing of sexually explicit content would delay their sexual debut and also reduce their engagement in risky sexual behaviors later in life, they concluded.

Do you know and regulate what your children are viewing? In our sexually permissive culture, this is a big question parents need to ask themselves. And we all need to ask; do we regulate what we see as well? Children aren’t the only ones affected by a sexually saturated society. Are we aware how this rails against the beauty and dignity of our authentic God-given sexuality and how destructive it is to healthy and loving relationships between men and women?

God bless you,

Father Joseph Byerley
By Fr. Joseph Byerley 17 Aug, 2017

(From The August 21 solar eclipse will be visible mostly in the United States, but it's impact is already being noticed around the world. It's fueling an interest in astrology and fortune telling, as such events often do. Now, Pope Francis has issued a warning against "false securities," reminding us to trust in Christ. People are flocking to astrologers and fortune tellers to find meaning in the event. It's natural for people to seek meaning in things they don't understand. This is especially common when the event in question is rare or poorly understood. As we know, a solar eclipse is the product of the Moon passing in front of the Sun from the perspective of a person on the surface of the Earth. There is no meaning beyond this. Yet, astrologers are enjoying renewed interest in their trade.

Pope Francis reminded audiences last Sunday when he said, "When we do not cling to the Word of the Lord, but consult horoscopes and fortune tellers, we begin to sink." Pope Francis connected his comment to the Gospel reading in which Peter began to sink in the water but was saved by Christ. The word of God, Pope Francis said, is "like an outstretched rope to cling to in front of the hostile and turbulent waters." We sink when we put our faith in the wrong things. "The guarantee against a shipwreck is faith in Christ and in his word."

Heading off to College? God is there!

Every college has a Catholic center located somewhere on or near the campus. There will be Mass, definitely on Sundays and often during the week, as well as a supportive community of fellow Catholic students. Our Lord always wants to be near to us and help us. College is a really important time for any person’s growth. It is so important for us to make sure that God plays a big part in that growth. Getting to Sunday Mass, practicing our faith, saying our prayers are all essential in staying close to God and receiving his grace, protection, and love.

House of Charity Update
We are very close to our goal for this year…we are at 89%. We are about $16,000 from making our goal. Thank you so much for what you have done so far. If you haven’t made your gift yet, please do so, we need to come through for the needy in our diocese and for the good of our parish. You are always so generous and responsive, please, let’s make our goal!

God bless,

Father Joseph Byerley
By Fr. Joseph Byerley 13 Aug, 2017
There is a story of a saintly priest from long ago who had a problem with one of his parishioners who attended daily Mass but left immediately after Communion. He solved the problem by ordering two altar boys with lighted candles to walk on either side of the man as soon as he started to leave the church and accompany him all the way to his carriage (pre-automobile days). After three days repeating this action, the somewhat flustered and embarrassed gentleman asked the priest for an explanation. He was told that since Christ was still present in him as he left the church, his presence had to be honored by lighted candles. Needless to say, the man didn’t leave Mass early again.
I wonder sometimes if we, including us priests, remain sufficiently aware of the truth of Christ’s presence abiding with us as Mass comes to conclusion. Honestly, I really don’t know what to say to those who regularly choose to come to Mass late or leave Mass early. Nor do I know what to say to those who come to worship God at Mass in shorts and tee shirts and flip flops. Of course, sometimes neither of those situations can be helped. I understand that and the Lord certainly does too. But coming to Mass on time and dressing well for the Lord is, to a certain extent, one of those things you either “get” or you don’t. There is very little a priest can say to people who choose to leave Mass early, come late, or dress inappropriately. Saying anything, no matter how well thought out, or kind, or gentle, usually comes off very badly. At the same time, I do have a responsibility before God to encourage and instruct the people entrusted to me by Him. Take one look at the letters of Saint Paul to his people, his parishioners if you like, and anything I would say or have said wouldn’t seem all that bad. After all, he used to call people “foolish”, “backsliders”, “ignorant”, etc. I wouldn’t dare say that to you. Of course, I am no saint either, so I better not say things like that.
However it is quite sad to observe the near contempt we can sometimes have for the Lord at Mass. We dress for the beach when we come to worship Almighty God. Before and after Mass, in Church, we can talk about everything but the Lord, as if the Church were some kind of lounge. We can arrive late, we leave early, never giving ourselves time to spiritually prepare for Mass or to thank the Lord for coming into our hearts.
The Mass is the one of the greatest things in which we can participate, for at Mass, we enter into the one saving sacrifice of Jesus to the Father on our behalf. It is the celebration of our salvation. We are inserted into this eternal event and are united with Jesus Christ. There is nothing on earth that is more beautiful, profound or important than the Mass. I know we all believe this and I hope we always do everything we can to keep conscious of that each time we come to Mass and show our consciousness externally by our dress, our behavior during and after, and how and when we arrive and depart. For all of these things together will have a great impact on both our subjective experience of Mass as well as the spiritual benefit we receive. In the end, if we believe worship of God at Mass is important and act as if it is important to us, then very likely, it will become as important to us as it really is.

God bless you,

Father Joseph Byerley
By Fr. Joseph Byerley 07 Aug, 2017
Given our contemporary world situation, that seems to experience almost daily violence and suffering both at home and abroad, I think it opportune to relate some of the late Pope Saint John Paul II’s message on the World Day of Peace of January 1, 2002, just a few months after
9-11. The Holy Father makes some profound points in his address. I was tempted to reproduce the whole text, but there isn’t room, but I urge you to look it up for it is well worth reading. Here are some weighty words to ponder.

     How do we restore the moral and social order subjected to such horrific violence? My reasoned conviction, confirmed in turn by biblical revelation, is that the shattered order cannot be fully restored except by a response that combines justice with forgiveness. The pillars of true peace are justice and that form of love which is forgiveness…But in the present circumstances, how can we speak of justice and forgiveness as the source and condition of peace? We can and we must, no matter how difficult this may be; a difficulty which often comes from thinking that justice and forgiveness are irreconcilable. But forgiveness is the opposite of resentment and revenge, not of justice…Forgiveness is in no way opposed to justice, as if to forgive meant to overlook the need to right the wrong done. It is rather the fullness of justice, leading to that tranquility of order which is much more than a fragile and temporary cessation of hostilities, involving as it does the deepest healing of the wounds which fester in human hearts. Justice and forgiveness are both essential to such healing.
     It is precisely peace born of justice and forgiveness that is under assault today by international terrorism. When ter-rorist organizations use their own followers as weapons to be launched against defenceless and unsuspecting people they show clearly the death-wish that feeds them. Terrorism springs from hatred, and it generates isolation, mistrust and closure. Violence is added to violence in a tragic sequence that exasperates successive generations, each one inheriting the hatred which divided those that went before. Terrorism is built on contempt for human life. For this reason, not only does it commit intolerable crimes, but because it resorts to terror as a political and military means it is itself a true crime against humanity.
There exists therefore a right to defend oneself against terrorism, a right which, as always, must be exercised with respect for moral and legal limits in the choice of ends and means. The guilty must be correctly identified, since criminal cul-pability is always personal and cannot be extended to the nation, ethnic group or religion to which the terrorists may belong. International cooperation in the fight against terrorist activities must also include a courageous and resolute political, diplo-matic and economic commitment to relieving situations of oppression and marginalization which facilitate the designs of terrorists. The recruitment of terrorists in fact is easier in situations where rights are trampled upon and injustices tolerated over a long period of time.
     Still, it must be firmly stated that the injustices existing in the world can never be used to excuse acts of terrorism, and it should be noted that the victims of the radical breakdown of order which terrorism seeks to achieve include above all the countless millions of men and women who are least well-positioned to withstand a collapse of international solidarity — namely, the people of the developing world, who already live on a thin margin of survival and who would be most grievously affected by global economic and political chaos. The terrorist claim to be acting on behalf of the poor is a patent falsehood.
     Those who kill by acts of terrorism actually despair of humanity, of life, of the future. In their view, everything is to be hated and destroyed. Terrorists hold that the truth in which they believe or the suffering that they have undergone are so absolute that their reaction in destroying even innocent lives is justified. Terrorism is often the outcome of that fanatic fundamentalism which springs from the conviction that one's own vision of the truth must be forced upon everyone else. To try to impose on others by violent means what we consider to be the truth is an offence against human dignity, and ultimately an offence against God whose image that person bears. For this reason, what is usually referred to as fundamentalism is an atti-tude radically opposed to belief in God. Terrorism exploits not just people, it exploits God: it ends by making him an idol to be used for one's own purposes. Consequently, no religious leader can condone terrorism, and much less preach it. It is a profa-nation of religion to declare oneself a terrorist in the name of God, to do violence to others in his name. Terrorist violence is a contradiction of faith in God, the Creator of man, who cares for man and loves him. It is altogether contrary to faith in Christ the Lord, who taught his disciples to pray: "Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors" (Mt 6:12).
     Forgiveness is not a proposal that can be immediately understood or easily accepted; in many ways it is a paradoxical message. Forgiveness in fact always involves an apparent short-term loss for a real long-term gain. Violence is the exact op-posite; opting as it does for an apparent short-term gain, it involves a real and permanent loss. Forgiveness may seem like weakness, but it demands great spiritual strength and moral courage, both in granting it and in accepting it. It may seem in some way to diminish us, but in fact it leads us to a fuller and richer humanity, more radiant with the splendour of the Creator…
     Prayer for peace is not an afterthought to the work of peace. It is of the very essence of building the peace of order, justice, and freedom. To pray for peace is to open the human heart to the inroads of God's power to renew all things. With the life-giving force of his grace, God can create openings for peace where only obstacles and closures are apparent; he can strengthen and enlarge the solidarity of the human family in spite of our endless history of division and conflict. To pray for peace is to pray for justice, for a right-ordering of relations within and among nations and peoples. It is to pray for freedom, especially for the religious freedom that is a basic human and civil right of every individual. To pray for peace is to seek God's forgiveness, and to implore the courage to forgive those who have trespassed against us…
     No peace without justice, no justice without forgiveness: this is what in this Message I wish to say to believers and unbelievers alike, to all men and women of good will who are concerned for the good of the human family and for its future.
     No peace without justice, no justice without forgiveness: this is what I wish to say to those responsible for the future of the human community, entreating them to be guided in their weighty and difficult decisions by the light of man's true good, al-ways with a view to the common good. No peace without justice, no justice without forgiveness: I shall not tire of repeating this warning to those who, for one reason or another, nourish feelings of hatred, a desire for revenge or the will to destroy.

May the God of peace bless you,

Fr. Joseph Byerley
By Fr. Joseph Byerley 30 Jul, 2017
Often we hear that a person is “spiritual but not religious” or that one is “close to God but not the Church.” Certainly there have been times the Church has not always been the most effective witness to Christ, yet, as the Holy Father explains below, it’s precisely in the living history of the Church that the Christian faith makes sense. Our relationship with Jesus, although personal, is not private. Despite the failings of its members, in-cluding, sadly some of its leaders, Jesus intended to start a church and for us to be active members of it.

God bless you,

Father Joseph Byerley

In a recent homily, Pope Francis noted that in proclaiming the Gospel, the apostles do not begin solely with Christ, but rather by recalling the history of the people of God. “Jesus”, he said, “does not make sense without this history.” The Holy Father went on to say that a Christian without the Church is “purely idealistic.”

"But you cannot understand a Christian alone, just like you cannot understand Jesus Christ alone. Jesus Christ did not fall from the sky like a superhero who comes to save us. No. Jesus Christ has a history,” he said. “And we can say, and it is true, that God has a history because He wanted to walk with us. And you cannot understand Jesus Christ without His history. So a Christian without history, without a Christian nation, a Christian without the Church is incomprehensible. It is a thing of the laboratory, an artificial thing, a thing that cannot give life". The Holy Father emphasized the importance of this dimension of history, saying that a “Christian is one who keeps the memory of the history of his people, who keeps the memory of his people’s journey, who keeps the memory of his Church.” This memory, he said, is that of a journey towards the fulfillment of a promise.

“And for this, a Christian in the Church is a man, a woman with hope: hope in the promise. It is not expectation: no, no! That’s something else: It is hope. Right, on we go! [Towards] that which does not disappoint,” he said. Concluding his homily, Pope Francis invited the faithful to ask God for the grace of memory that allows us to look forward with hope. In doing so, one follows the path towards God and renews the covenant with Him.

"It would do us good today,” he said, “to think about our Christian identity. Our Christian identity is belonging to a people: the Church. Without this, we are not Christians.”

“We entered the Church through baptism: there we are Christians. And for this reason, we should be in the habit of asking for the grace of memory, the memory of the journey that the people of God has made; also of personal memory: What God did for me, in my life, how has he made me walk ... Ask for the grace of hope, which is not optimism: no, no! It 's something else. And ask for the grace to renew the covenant with the Lord who has called us every day. May the Lord give us these three graces, which are necessary for the Christian identity.”
By Fr. Joseph Byerley 22 Jul, 2017
I was having lunch with a couple of friends the other day. One of them was telling me about a book that he picked up in the library of the prison where he volunteers. I don’t remember the exact title, but it was some sort of self-help book that claims substantial benefit from doing five minutes of exercise right when you wake up in the morning, before you do anything else. My friend has been trying this the past month or so and has said that he can definitely feel the difference. Mind you, my friend is already a fitness nut and distance runner. Yet he has found value in starting off his day with just five minutes of physical activity – whether it is walking on the treadmill, stretching, some pushups and sit-ups, really anything to get the heart moving in the morning. So a guy, who already works out frequently and regularly does ten mile runs, says he had noticed a positive difference in those five minutes of activity right when he gets up in the morning. It’s probably a good thing for any of us to do.

I guess you know where I am heading. If getting our physical heart beating fast first in the morning is good for our bodies, even if one is already physically fit, think about the comparable value of getting our spiritual hearts – our souls - also beating fast first thing in the morning. What is the first thing you do when the alarm goes off? How about making the Sign of the Cross and thanking God for another day? Then, after turning off the alarm, before you do your five minutes of exercise, how about working out your soul for five minutes? Taking five minutes to connect with God first thing in the morning, no matter how spiritually “fit” we may already be, will give us a great spiritual jump start for the day. There are a host of morning prayers around (two examples are below) that one can pray as a way of starting your day off with the Lord. By consciously taking those five minutes or so in the morning to acknowledge God and opening our hearts to Him, we will not only receive His grace as we awake, but we will also orient our whole day to the Lord and provide ourselves with essential spiritual protection from evil first thing in the morning. Beginning your day with God can’t be anything but great for us.

So if you are not in the practice of starting your day off with those five minutes, give it a shot. If you need, write yourself a note to remind you. Put it near your alarm clock or on the floor next to your bed. Better yet, make it ten minutes – five for God and five for your body. I can guarantee that small investment of time in the morning will pay huge benefits throughout the day, spiritually and physically.

God bless you,

Father Joseph Byerley
By Fr. Joseph Byerley 12 Jul, 2017
Firstly, I would like to thank our outgoing Youth Minister, Dominique Mehmet, for her wonderful love and commitment to our young people here at Saint Rose of Lima. As the mother of a new beautiful baby, Dominique has decided to focus her time on motherhood and her baby son. Thanks again Dominique!
Secondly, I would like to introduce to the parish our new full time Youth Minister, Jeffrey Shields. Jeffrey has a lot of experience in working with youth and also has great en-thusiasm for the role. Providentially, as Dominique was deciding to step away from the Youth Minster position, Jeffrey became available. I really believe that Jeffery will do great things here for our youth and will definitely help our young people develop their relationship with the Lord.

Please make sure you give him a big St. Rose of Lima welcome when you see him!

God bless you,

Father Joseph Byerley
By Fr. Joseph Byerley 10 Jul, 2017
When someone thinks about what is valuable, the usual answers will probably come up: money, precious metals, stocks, real estate, etc. And yes those things are valuable. But there is a possession of ours that is more valuable than all of the money in the world. And it doesn’t matter if you are Bill Gates and a multi-billionaire or a homeless person living on the street. Both share this invaluable commodity. It is the twenty four hours that we are given each day by God to use.
We all make claims as to what is important to us. Another way of saying that is we make claims as to what (or who) is valuable to us. How do we actually show these claims to be true? By our actions. Just like saying “I love you” means nothing if one doesn’t act in a loving way towards the person who is supposedly loved, so too it is for what we claim is valuable to us. And the clearest indicator of what is important to us, what is valuable to us, is how much time we devote to it. How much of our precious twenty four hours a day we give to something or someone is the true gauge of the value to us.
Actually, going back to the example of the difference in saying “I love you” and truly showing love is very much connected to the use of our time. How much of our time we are willing to give to another is very much associated to how much we truly have love for that person. We have heard often the admonition to “make the time” for something or someone. This is exactly what it means to love. To give of our most pre-cious resource, our time, to another is one of the most central expressions of love. By “spending” our time on someone, we are eliminating that period of time that we can use for our own wants and desires and needs. It is truly the gift of self; it is love.
So we all should be asking ourselves about how we use our time (including us priests). How much of my time do I give my family, my spouse, my children, my job, my hobbies, my church, social media, my friends, and of course God? For instance, there are 168 hours in a week. Sunday Mass is about an hour….that’s just under 0.6% of the week. Even with a really long homily, it would still be far less than one percent of the whole week. Compare that to how much time during the week do we spend at the gym? Or watching TV? What about prayer? If one were to pray just 15 minutes of each day, that would be just about 1% of the whole day. Even if you take into account getting eight hours of sleep at night, 15 minutes a day of prayer would still only be 1.5% of the day. And compare that to how much time a day do we play games on our phones and computers and tablets? Or how much time do we spend a day on social media?
No matter what we claim, what we actually do with our time shows what is important to us. Perhaps a good summer exercise would be to inventory the use of our time and evaluate whether it matches our statements of what is important to us. If it doesn’t, then maybe it would be helpful to reprioritize the use of our time, including the time we spend on the Lord, to keep it in line with what we say is important to us. This is the best way to use the great treasure that God gives us, our time.

God bless you,
Father Joseph Byerley
More Posts
Share by: