You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem* on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." (Deuteronomy 6:5-9)
Jewish people pray this prayer daily and maybe we should too!
Throughout the week-long Priests Study Days (Oct. 3-6) in Canmore, we were reminded to listen and remember, and to let our memory inspire our service.
For some of us priests, this was our first visit to the Shrine Church of Our Lady of the Rockies in Canmore. This church has preserved beautifully memories of the past in the beautiful sculptures throughout the building, and yet it is a modern church ready to serve us in the future. A reminder that though our buildings change .. The Lord is One.
We began our week by remembering the years of ministry nine of our priests have offered to the Diocese. Their service embraced parishes and many lay associations, including the CWL and the Knights of Columbus. They came from around the world inspired by their memories of God’s love.
We listened to the the Synod Synthesis to hear the voices of the laity who gathered throughout the Synodal process and to what the Spirit had inspired them to say about our journey together. Some of what the priests heard was probably challenging, but in the end the message was - work with us.. help us to renew the life of the Spirit that we share - for the Lord is One.
Our speaker Fr Michael Simone, a Jesuit from Chicago, helped us to revisit the scriptures during the Study Days. His main theme was Remember and Believe. He helped us to see first how the Psalms came about as pilgrims visited shrines, to either ask forgiveness or to give thanks, and how at the shrine a song was sung in memory of the deeds of the Lord. These songs became our Psalms. He reminded us that Jesus would have prayed these Psalms, and that when we pray them we should ask ourselves .. what did these words inspire in Jesus' heart.. what are they saying to our hearts.
Fr. Simone took us through the Gospels, showing us how they were composed to help early Christian’s ready themselves to meet the Lord. He showed us that Jesus' mission was to help Israel see the true meaning of the the great events in their past. And how Jesus is with us every day, encouraging us to remember what God has done so we can detect the signs if his present activity.
Bishop McGrattan led us in the Eucharist each day. He spoke to us about the importance of our unity as a witness to our people that we believe in one Lord.. and in the Eucharist we heard Jesus own command, "Do this in memory of me."
Fr. Michael pointed out to us that Jesus saw himself as a Jew.. he lived his earthly life as a Jew. Every day he would pray the Shema, "Listen Israel .. the Lord is our God. The Lord is one."
We should learn the Shema and add it to our daily prayer!
Catholic Pastoral Centre Staff and Guest Writers