‘Without You, O Christ, I cannot live!’

Dear friends,

The celebration of Masses at Holy Spirit in Huntsville and the Cathedral of St. Paul in Birmingham for those who recently came into the Church at the Easter Vigil has been for me a joyful occasion. I can’t help but think of how the Lord continues to work, even in the time of a pandemic, to call people to Himself.

While I didn’t have a chance to speak with all, those with whom I had a few words expressed to me how this was such a big decision for them. The decision and acting on it brought them such inner tranquility. Each person had a unique journey and faced different obstacles along the way. Nevertheless, their common response was similar: “I have found something my heart was looking for.” It reminded so much of St. Augustine’s reflection that his heart was “restless” until it rested “in Thee (the Lord).”

Those of us who have grown up in the Catholic Faith take our faith for granted. Our Catholicism is like the air we breathe. It is already a part of us. We know the vocabulary, the rituals, and the moral expectations for living. Although we may not be perfect in every aspect, we stay with the faith because it is for us a Polaris (north star) or point of reference that guides us throughout our lives.

In part it is because, deep down, we love our parishes and the fellowship it engenders. Even more, as we learned in our First Communion, the Eucharist is the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ — something that is truly awesome.

“Come to Me ... I will give you rest!” We know, even instinctively, that no matter what is going on around us, there is a certainty offered in a relationship with Christ and His Church.

We know this, especially in times of great tragedy or sadness. But even in moments of great joy, we sense an interior serenity that comes over us because of our faith.

Yes, the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, draw us to a personal, deep relationship with Jesus, our Savior. What a blessing this is! The grace of Christ was so interwoven in the fabric of the lives of the saints. In hindsight, many readily concluded, “Without You, O Christ, I cannot live!” We need our Lord. Our Lord, of course, comes in search of us. The meeting point in the sacraments are privileged moments to renew and recharge our faith.

Every year, those who join the Church offer us encouragement and hope. They become an integral part of our family — our faith family — to witness firsthand the presence of Jesus in the world today and their concrete decision to follow Him. Their stories of faith encourage us to take seriously our own faith journeys.

One of the main goals of our One Voice magazine is to share the inspiring faith stories of individuals throughout our diocese: What brought them to our Catholic Faith community? How are they sustained in the practice of their Faith? And, how do we share the Good News we have found in coming to know Jesus as Lord and Redeemer? I can’t wait to hear about your Faith journey.

‘Sin ti, Oh Cristo, ¡No puedo vivir!’