Message from Fr. Louis, Prior
This message was written for the HTM newsletter
for January, February, March 2000
Even after a month into the new century, I still find it difficult to write the year 2000. I must say, however, I would agree totally with our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, in his optimism for the new century and the new millennium. On February 2, I had the opportunity to preach at the Cathedral of St. Augustine in Tucson, for the special Jubilee celebration of the religious in the diocese of Tucson and thought that I might share that homily with you:
"The year 2000 is here amidst great expectations and concerns. And yet we might have missed the most important message of all. Our Holy Father shared the good news about the Great Jubilee of the year 2000 in an apostolic letter written in 1994 entitled, "As the Third Millennium Draws Near." John Paul II reminds us that Jesus became man to bring salvation to you and me - to the whole world.
It is so easy for us who consider ourselves religious to lose sight of that fact. Is it any wonder then that the vast majority of people never even mention Jesus when talking about the new millennium?
We are beginning another thousand years of Western Civilization. It might be good to remember Jesus' words in His farewell address to His disciples: John 14: "Do not let your heart be troubled; trust in God still and trust in me. In my Father's house there are many rooms and I have provided one there for you." There is a need then to open up the doors of these rooms, the doors of our Father's house.
Sister Joan Chittister, O.S.B., tells us that word devoid of reflection, of thoughtful examination, of sincere self-criticism is doomed.
The first door we need to open is our Spiritual Director's. We have a need to become fully human, fully civilized, fully spiritual people. What about our value systems, our cultural priorities, our personal treasures? A spiritual director will help us there.
Graham Greene, the English author, wrote a book, The Heart of the Matter, some years ago. The heart might be our second door. Change starts in the human heart, and it is the human heart, yours and mine, that is in question at the turn of the new millennium. Each of us must take time to ask ourselves, 'What do we really want in life?' This will let us know about the nature of our own spiritual development. We are on a journey to our Father's house. What we do in our lifetime prepares us for eternal life. Along the way, we celebrate significant moments of our history.
The custom of celebrating Jubilees began with the Jewish people of the Old Testament. A Jubilee was celebrated every fifty years in thanksgiving for their freedom from captivity in Egypt. During the Jubilee year, families were to return to their homes, debts were to be forgiven and slaves set free. It was a time for rest, reflection, repentance and rejoicing.
It's time to open a third door.
The Holy Father tells us, "The term Jubilee speaks of joy, not just an inner joy, but a jubilation which is manifested in outwardly visible, audible and tangible events." Let's do it. Let us move into the next room of Jubilee.
If we do it, we have taken a giant step into the new millennium. We don't know the future events that will affect our world or church; we do know the past. We are reminded by John Paul II that we are celebrating 2000 years of the Good News of Jesus Christ and that Jesus will be with His Church until the end of the world. We are fortunate to live in this graced moment of history. May we make the most of it on this feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the temple.
Let us pray. Jesus, on this feast of the Presentation, we recognize that you have truly taken on our frail human condition. For this gift you have given us, we give back the praise, honor and glory that is rightfully yours. Amen.
You may be sure that you and your families and friends are remembered in the prayers of our community, and we ask that you remember our intentions and us in your prayers.
Yours Truly in Christ and St. Benedict,
Fr. Louis Hasenfuss, O.S.B.