When the initial fervor of a Christian ministry fades away, your love for Jesus is tested. If you fall from your early love for Jesus (see Rv 2:4), you'll be tempted to stop feeding His sheep.
When you are weary and overwhelmed in trying to fulfill your call to serve Jesus, you face the choice of running away from the cross of ministry (see Mk 14:50) or running toward Jesus to bring your burdens to Him (Mt 11:28-30). If you run away from the cross, you run away from His love and His sheep.
When you are stretched too thin and you feel you are about to burn out, you may feel like Jeremiah and decide to no longer feed His sheep or mention His name (Jer 20:9). If you really love Jesus, His word will burn in you like a fire (Jer 20:9), and the love of Christ in you impels you to feed His sheep (2 Cor 5:14).
Do you love Jesus? (Jn 21:15) If you love Jesus, you need to go to Him like Mary Magdalene (Jn 20:1ff), not away from Him like Peter (Jn 21:3). Escapism doesn't foster love, and it doesn't help the hungry sheep, either. Leisure, which recreates the mind and soul, differs from escapism, which deadens it. May the Holy Spirit enlighten us on this difference. May the love of God be poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit (Rm 5:5) and lead us to a renewed love of Jesus, which leads us to feed a world of people hungry for the good news of Jesus.
|Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant the Imprimatur ("Permission to Publish") for One Bread, One Body covering the period from April 1, 2007 through May 31, 2007.
†Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 16, 2006.