Dear Sacred Heart of Jesus Family,
Happy New Year! I hope your celebrations with family and friends were full of fresh joy in the new year. I pray that Our Blessed Lord showers you with abundant blessings in this new year. May we rediscover God as our ever-faithful Friend, and may Our Lady bless us with Her prayers to help us persevere as we run another lap of the race of life.
Maybe 2018 can begin well as we learn some insights from the Wisemen this weekend. The Gospel relates: “They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.”
Scientists tell us that current brain research reveals how much we are creatures of habit. Approximately fifty percent of our daily routine is habit-based. We can drive to the store without thinking, once we start the ignition. This is because our brains form habits and these shape our character. Grace can help transform our habits for the better. When we are unaware or closed to God’s grace, we can’t give him permission to transform us with His Love. In less than six short weeks, it will be Valentine’s Day, AND Ash Wednesday! Then on April Fool’s Day, it will be Easter! 2018 is shaping up to be a wild ride. However, Lent can seem so hard, and part of that is surrendering to the power to change. Grace is the change agent, and Jesus shows us through the Epiphany some secrets to powerful change.
The Epiphany is the celebration of the World encountering the Christ Child. The Wise Men, or Magi, symbolize our best. Our talents, gifts, and achievements are seen in the hard work and rich lives of the Magi. 1) They searched for truth, and found Truth Himself with Our Lady. 2) They revealed to Jesus their blessings and gave to Him from their heart. 3) They went back to their lives, changed by this encounter, and going home by a new route!
This year, let us start the year with a renewed search for the truth about how to live, serve, and be fulfilled. We will find our happiness in the Christ Child in the arms of Our Lady. Secondly, let us do a gratitude inventory of all the blessings we have, and talk to Jesus about how blessed we are, and see how we can thank Him through service. Finally, let us approach our lives by a new path. Let’s try and form some small new habits of prayer, gratitude, and service that can have a ripple effect in our lives. We don’t have to return to life in 2018 by the old ways. If there is a new path to hope, let us follow the Magi back to life, knowing Jesus with Our Lady, serving Him with our gifts, searching for the Truth that will make us free and happy. From Fr. Shafer, Deacon Mark, and all of us at Sacred Heart Church and Academy, we wish you a blessed, prosperous and Happy New Year! Welcome, 2018!
In Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart,
Fr. Bjorn Lundberg, Pastor