My Dear Friends in Christ,
In his January 6, 2000 Apostolic Letter, Novo Millennio Ineunte (The Beginning of the New Millennium), Pope John Paul II invites all of us to put aside all fear and pursue daring apostolic goals which are rooted deeply in prayer. The time has come, writes our Holy Father, to re-propose wholeheartedly to everyone this high standard of ordinary Christian living: the whole life of the Christian community and of Christian families must lead in this direction. It is also clear however that the paths to holiness are personal and call for a genuine ˜training in holiness', adapted to people's needs. (Novo Millennio Ineuente, 31)
This training in holiness calls for a Christian life distinguished above all in the art of prayer. Yes, dear brothers and sisters, our Christian communities must become genuine ˜schools' of prayer, where the meeting with Christ is expressed not just in imploring help but also in thanksgiving, praise, adoration, contemplation, listening and ardent devotion, until the heart truly ˜falls in love". (Novo Millennio Ineuente, 32, 33)
There is a temptation which perennially besets every spiritual journey and pastoral work: that of thinking that the results depend on our ability to act and to plan. God of course asks us really to cooperate with his grace, and therefore invites us to invest all our resources of intelligence and energy in serving the cause of the Kingdom. But it is fatal to forget that "without Christ we can do nothing" (cf. Jn 15:5).
It is prayer which roots us in this truth. It constantly reminds us of the primacy of Christ and, in union with him, the primacy of the interior life and of holiness. When this principle is not respected, is it any wonder that pastoral plans come to nothing and leave us with a disheartening sense of frustration? We then share the experience of the disciples in the Gospel story of the miraculous catch of fish: ˜We have toiled all night and caught nothing' (Lk 5:5). This is the moment of faith, of prayer, of conversation with God, in order to open our hearts to the tide of grace and allow the word of Christ to pass through us in all its power: Duc in altum! On that occasion, it was Peter who spoke the word of faith: ˜At your word I will let down the nets' (ibid.). As this millennium begins, allow the Successor of Peter to invite the whole Church to make this act of faith, which expresses itself in a renewed commitment to prayer. (Novo Millennio Ineuente, 38)
Our communities of St. Ignatius and St. Mary's have wholeheartedly embraced Pope John Paul II's invitation to concentrate our efforts on becoming places of genuine training in holiness and schools of prayer. We say yes to socializing and yes to activist projects, but they should be the fruit of our prayer, not its replacement.
This website is meant to be a compilation of all of the teachings and formational activities our communities have embarked upon as a result of this new millennium invitation from our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II.
Ad Jesum per Mariam,
Fr. Richard Heilman