After my first six months on the job, I must admit I’ve grown to enjoy opening what I like to call “fan mail.”
I’m intrigued by how people choose to communicate with me. Emails, typewritten notes, handwritten letters, Facebook messages, telephone calls and personal stops at my office can randomly pop into my daily schedule. Whether it’s positive or negative, I love hearing what people have to say. Actually, I need it. It helps me do my job better and also keep a finger on the pulse of what’s going on in our faithful diocese.
Recently I received one nugget of feedback that particularly made me smile. First, some background: In early December, I received a note from the Carmelite Sisters in Wahpeton requesting additional copies of
Bishop Kagan’s recently published pastoral letter
, I Call You Friends. Happy to meet their wishes, we sent them the amount they asked for so they could use them to “enliven people’s faith during this Year of Faith” as they had promised.
It was the words in their thank-you note that sent a loving chill through my body as I read:
“Your goodness to us fills us with joy and gratitude. If we are so pleased, the Heart of Jesus surely burns with immense love for you beyond your comprehension. With His very love we express our heartfelt thanks.”
The holy sisters also attached a separate card that read:
“Our special gift to you is a Novena of Masses offered for you in our Chapel during the Christmas season, and one Mass each month the rest of the year.”
Wow. The holiness, the love and the true reflection of Christ that shone through the sisters’ note were overwhelming, to be honest. After reflecting on it more, it has left me with four thoughts:
1) Those dear sisters really value Bishop Kagan’s pastoral letter. What have I personally done with Bishop’s pastoral letter? I received a copy this fall as an insert into the September DCA; where is it today?
2) Vocations in the Catholic Church are a tremendous gift. By merely reading the thank-you note, I felt the desire to be a holier person. (I experienced the same desire when meeting with our seminarians in December.) These religious men and women have embraced their vocation, which is their path to holiness. Their simple example makes me want to talk to Christ, to be His friend and reflect on His goodness in my life. Does the example I live in my vocation of marriage reflect and encourage that same holiness in others?
3) They’re right; Jesus does love me! This isn’t something most grown men and women regularly rejoice in, but we all ought to think about this simple fact a bit more. Sometimes (as is the case here), we need a blatant reminder of Christ’s immense love for us, regardless of what we do and how we act. What have I done recently that would make Jesus smile? What have I done that would hurt His heart?
4) The Power of Prayer is amazing. Have I prayed for others lately? My family? My friends? Our priests and religious? Much like the pay-it-forward we hear about in Starbucks drive-thrus, how have I paid-forward all the prayers that others offer up for me?
All those thoughts from one simple note? Thank you for the thank-you!