Jennifer Miller
Freelance Writer
March 21, 2017 // Bishop

Bishop speaks on ‘Truth in Charity’ at Christ the King

Jennifer Miller
Freelance Writer

“It doesn’t take much effort to see division, empty promises, fear and anger in our society. However, as a church, we know that a deep and personal relationship with Jesus, who is the Truth, leads to a life of unity, charity, joy and freedom,” Megan Bazler Urbaniak, director of adult faith formation at Christ the King Parish in South Bend, explained. “We begin to live a life of the beatitudes, a life where we see Christ in others and draw others to the healing and charitable love of Christ.”

Urbaniak organized the Christ the King Parish Lenten mission, which took place March 12-14. “We first considered choosing “Truth in Charity” because it’s Bishop Rhoades’ episcopal motto. As the planning committee spent time in prayer, we began to realize how important and timely a reflection on God’s truth and charity is. The psalms, readings, prayers and music we selected were carefully and prayerfully chosen as we each explored the need for more authentic truth and charity in the world.”

After a parish potluck meal Sunday night, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades began the Christ the King parish mission, leading evening vespers and preaching. The Gospel that evening was the Beatitudes, from Matthew 5:1-15.

Bishop Kevin Rhoades preaches at evening vespers, which began a Lenten retreat at Christ the King Parish March 14. He spoke on the theme “Truth in Charity.”

He started his reflection by sharing the memory of how he chose his episcopal motto, Truth in Charity or “Veritatem in caritate,” in Latin. He was Rector of Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md., at the time, when he received the call that he was being appointed a bishop, the bishop of Diocese of Harrisburg, Pa. The motto comes from chapter four of St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, verse 15, which reads: “living the truth in love, we should grow in every way into Him who is the head, that is, Christ.” Bishop Rhoades explained, “He (St. Paul) urges them to live in the truth out of a desire for the good of others, acting in love. In our speech and our conduct, when we are truthful, sincere and motivated by love, we grow into maturity in Christ. Christ is our goal and our life is to be “in Him.” He is the head of the church. It is from Christ that we receive the truth and it is from Christ that we learn to love.”

Next, Bishop Rhoades connected the motto and theme of the parish mission with the Beatitudes, “the beginning of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.”

“I can’t think of a better instruction on how to live the truth in love. The Beatitudes are at the very heart of the teaching of Jesus,” he said.

“The wonderful blessings and reward proclaimed in the Beatitudes: possessing the kingdom of heaven, inheriting the earth, seeing God face to face…. These are descriptions of eternal life, communion with God in heaven, which is our ultimate end and perfect happiness. We can have a taste of that happiness here on earth when we live the Beatitudes.”

He continued by going into detail about how Jesus Himself first lived the Beatitudes, how Mary was connected to them and how the faithful could choose to follow Jesus by living these sacred words.

“The Beatitudes are really the program of life of the Christian. They free us from the false values that surround us in the world. They show us what it means to live in the truth, to live in Christ who is the truth.”

By connecting the life and words of Christ, Bishop Rhoades invited everyone to come closer to God in a fatherly way. “The Beatitudes are words of truth. They are a kind of self-portrait of the One who is Truth Incarnate, Jesus. And they are to be the portrait of His followers, His disciples.

“They also paint us a picture of what God’s grace can accomplish in us if we run to Him in repentance and ask Him to accomplish what He died to give us. The Beatitudes have a revolutionary power,” he shared. “I can’t think of a better Lenten practice than reading, studying, praying over the Beatitudes every day. They are the rules for a Christian revolution.”

Other speakers for the remainder of the Christ the King Lenten retreat were Tami Schmitz, campus minister at the University of Notre Dame, and Father John Herman, CSC, superior and rector of Moreau Seminary. A parish penance and reconciliation service closed the retreat on Tuesday evening.

Father Steve Lacroix, CSC, pastor of Christ the King parish, shared: “We chose the theme “Truth in Charity” because it’s a message that we really need to hear. So often when people disagree about important things, they stop treating each other with charity. And the flip side of that is that people often back away from speaking difficult truths because they don’t want to appear self-righteous. The bishop did a great job of reminding us that Christians have to do both. There is no truth without charity, and there is no charity without truth.”

“I hope that everyone walked away from the retreat with a little more energy and enthusiasm for their Lenten prayer, fasting and almsgiving,” Father Lacroix added.


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