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Seek the Lord for July 2024

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As you read this, thousands of our brothers and sisters in Christ are on pilgrimage, walking from various regions of our country to meet for the National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis. This July 17-21, faithful from across the country will joyfully gather at Lucas Oil Stadium with hopes of deepening their faith in the great gift of our Lord’s own Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.

Whether or not we are able to participate in person at the Eucharistic Congress, it will still be a period of grace for the entire Church. The union we experience in the Church is more profound than simply being together in the same physical location as other believers. By our common baptism and shared faith in the Lord, the bonds of unity among the faithful surpass the limits of space and time. Over the centuries, artists have sought to give form to this reality by depicting the Church as a great procession of believers–women and men of “every nation, race, people, and tongue” (cf. Rev. 7:9)–all moving on pilgrimage toward heaven. We walk toward eternity together, each making our unique contribution for the good of the whole, and each benefiting from the spiritual gifts which God pours out on all His children, wherever they may be.

This union we share as a Church is fundamental to our life as Christians. Together, we journey back to the God who created us. We need one another; this is why Christ gave us the Church. Each of us contributes our gifts and talents for the benefit of the whole faith community. Our journey to heaven is an extended spiritual pilgrimage. With others at our side, we move toward a common destination: the fullness and perfection of life with God forever.

At the end of this month, I will celebrate the 50th anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood. It is an occasion to reflect on the vocational journey to which God has called me over the course of these years. Following this path has led me to many unexpected places, and I have had opportunities and met people along the way whom I never could have imagined while growing up in rural Iowa. With gratitude, I reflect on the many ways I have witnessed God work through the Church and shower His transformative grace upon His people in diverse circumstances and situations. None of this would be possible if there hadn’t been others at my side with a shared desire to work for God’s glory and the good of His people. Together, and with the grace of God, we can accomplish much.

An integral aspect of the Christian life is this movement toward what lies beyond. We are people of hope, always striving to share in the salvation Christ made possible for us. In eternity, we will behold the face of God in all its glory, and in knowing God perfectly we will also experience the perfection of our own being. This is why I chose as my episcopal motto a line from Psalm 105: “Seek the face of the Lord.” These inspired words have motivated pilgrims across the centuries as they journeyed together toward a holy shrine.

In all things, God calls us to discover His presence and purpose, to keep moving closer to Him, both in this life and for all eternity. May He grant us the grace to persevere toward that goal on this pilgrimage we call life–together in Christ Jesus our Lord!

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