From the Pastor's Desk

May 21, 2017


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

My Dear Parishioners:

This Wednesday is a most unusual commemoration. It is the feast of St. Simeon the Stylite. As a thirteen-year-old shepherd of Sisan, Asia Minor (Turkey today), Simeon heard a Gospel reading of the Beatitudes that greatly affected him. Entering a nearly monastery, he learned all the Psalms by heart and began to manifest the extraordinary spirit of self-denial that was to become a hallmark of his spirituality. Thereafter Simeon lived as a hermit. In the year 423 he imposed on himself the unusual mortification of living atop a pillar only a few feet in diameter and about ten feet high. Later a much taller pillar over sixty-five feet high was built for him. The local bishops and abbots tested his virtue by commanding him to come down from the pillar, a command they immediately rescinded after the hermit demonstrated his humble willingness to obey them. One bishop even brought him Holy Communion. Simeon devoted himself to prayer, but also gave exhortations twice daily to those who gathered around the pillar to hear him. People flocked to see and hear him. His words won the conversion of pagans in the audience. Simeon would urge his listeners to pray for the salvation of souls. He lived to be a very old man, living completely atop the pillar. What we see in his life is a spirit of extraordinary penance. He was ordained a Priest, the Bishop climbed up to ordain him. Simon founded a school of hermit monks known as the Pillar Saints, who followed his lead. Rather than flee to the desert these men stayed in the city as a continual witness, we see in them the words of St. Paul, “to be in the world, but not of it.’ All of us are called to be in the world, meaning the daily routine of life, our occupations and community, but not to be shaped by it, rather to shape society by living out our Christian commitment each day. I pray that God will raise up may Simons today, maybe not to sit on a pillar, but to stand out by what we do and say as we live in a society and culture that see little value for God and morality.  As Christians living in a neo pagan world, a little pillar mentality is not a bad thing. We need to sometimes retreat to be quiet before God and to pray. Perhaps your pillar can be in the car or bus going to work, a quiet time of prayer, or in the evening rather than turning on the TV for a half hour, or coming to morning Mass.  St. Simon reminds us that being a Christian in a non Christian world demands a commitment each day to Jesus Christ, nourished by prayer, penance and charity. Like St. Simon we are to be in the world, but not of it. To shape society, not be shaped by it.

God help us all.

Your friend and pastor,

 Fr. Dan 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 



 

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