Spiritual Amnesia - A Note from Father Hickey

News March 13, 2022

FAMILY NOTES, II Sunday of Lent, March 13, 2022

Dear friends,

Peace!

AMNESIA

More than 50 years ago a Belgian priest, Fr. Lucien Diess, gave the Church a song with this advice: “Keep in mind that Jesus Christ has died for us and is risen from the dead. He is our saving Lord, He is joy for all ages!” In contrast to his advice we, our nation, and we Christ’s Church are suffering from a terrible affliction: Instead of in, Christ is out of mind. God is forgotten. To quote Cardinal Sean we are suffering from “spiritual amnesia.” (“Wanted Friends and Footwashers”, Paulist Press, p. 52) The crisis is visible. We in Rockland have dropped in thirty years from 2,300 faithful in Church on a weekend to 413 today. Wherever any one of us is in faith, now that the pandemic is subsiding significantly, we must seriously seek to carry out the teaching of Our Divine Master: “You shall worship the Lord, your God, and him alone shall you serve” (Luke 4:8).

REMEMBER

We stand on the shoulders of our ancestors in faith, the Jews. Thus, our worship as theirs, calls believers to remember, regularly, each Sabbath, each Day of the Lord, what God has done for us. At the center of the Perfect Prayer, Holy Mass, Our Lord says this: “This is the Chalice of My Blood which will be poured out for you. Do this in memory of me.” Lucien Diess captured well His meaning: “Keep in Mind!” Jesus is calling for our presence at the Sacred Liturgy, yes! But attention, paying attention, is what being there also calls for. And often, as they say, ‘That ain’t easy!’ Not for nothing does the celebrant cry, “Lift up your hearts!” Mass is work, sacred work, work of people who belong to God. The word liturgy itself means ’work of the People!’

LOVE

Let’s ponder what we remember. Speaking to Our Father before the Consecration and central to that work of remembering the priest says: “Lord, we were lost and could not approach you, (yet), you loved us with the greatest love: for your Son, who alone is just handed himself over to death, and did not disdain to be nailed to the Cross… to reconcile all things in himself through his Blood to be shed ?.” (I Eucharistic Prayer of Reconciliation).

What I encourage in you, I vigorously seek to activate in myself; first of all: to remember Jesus, to appreciate Jesus, to be constantly amazed at Jesus. Secondly, I take as my own and strongly suggest you do as well St. Paul’s marvelous cry: “I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me!” (Gal 2:20) Let us never forget, never stop appreciating what a gift Jesus Christ is for us! We must not, please God, we shall not forget! And as we keep Him in mind, as we remember during every Eucharist so, like the coronavirus, may our disease of “spiritual amnesia” also decline.

Let us pray. Jesus, may we constantly keep in mind all you’ve done for us. You are our Saving Lord. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ! Amen!

JFH