This month’s column is from a homily given by Bishop DeGrood on May 23, 2022.
What’s coming to my heart is gratitude to those of you who dwell with God. The Father desires to dwell with us. What does it mean to dwell with us? It means that God wants to dwell within us, and we are so very privileged through our Baptism, through the sacraments of the Church, for God to literally dwell within us. It’s called grace—the supernatural reality of God’s own life.
And in a particular way, in the Holy Eucharist, we get to receive Jesus’ real Body and Blood, his Real Presence in us. I give thanks for those of you who so beautifully live your faith and have been an inspiration to me.
We live in a troubled world today and many are trying to figure out how to make their way through it. And without God dwelling within us, there is not unity, whether it’s on the international or national level, in the Church, our families, our communities, even our own hearts. But when God dwells within our hearts, there’s an interior joy and peace, and God unites us all together.
How blessed we are to be Catholic, which means to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic. It’s the invitation and the challenge for all of us to let God dwell in us so that we live united as Catholics in the goodness of God himself.
But we live in a world today where some have chosen not to let God be the source and principle of their interior life. And whenever that happens to any of us, just like it happened in the lives of the apostles and in all of humanity ever since the fall of Adam and Eve, we tend to want to take into our own hands and want to define what we believe is right or wrong, or to be able to choose what we want to be right or wrong.
Jesus was so clear that we must remain in the Word. God has revealed himself in the Old Testament and the New Testament. Jesus came to teach us how to live and how to love. And even before he left, he told his apostles, it is better that I go, but I will send the advocate to be with you always, and the advocate will teach you.
But in order to be taught and to let the word of God dwell within us, we must take time and prayer. We must internalize and we must allow what needs to surface within us that’s resistant to God’s word, that’s resistant to his beautiful teachings, his commandments, so that we can be transformed and converted.
We know from the Apostles and disciples, who were sinners like us, that anyone who allows their heart to be transformed by grace finds what their hearts are made for. We are made for love. We are made to have God dwell within us, because it’s God dwelling within us that enables us to experience the fullness of our potential.
What the world is in need of today is Catholics, leaders, governments and businesses who are going to allow the word of God to be alive within them. And it’s in that unity of the spirit where the Holy Spirit moves and unites us to seek the common good, not what it is we want for ourselves. If we, as Catholics, are not deeply rooted in the word of God and follow the Church’s teachings, we will make our own decisions and sometimes advocate for things that are not of God, like taking the life of innocent children.
The world is in need of godly men and women as laity, as consecrated men and women, as clergy, to not be afraid, but to draw closer to God, that the Holy Spirit can instruct us and teach us how to be leaders.
It’s going to take many of us. God wants to raise up leaders. He wants to save souls, and souls are saved when God dwells in us. Let’s pray for that grace and for the desire to respond to the call.