(LifeSiteNews) — On this week’s episode of The Bishop Strickland Show, Bishop Joseph Strickland explains beautifully the need to conform ourselves to God’s love and encourage others to believe that God loves them, too.
Bishop Strickland tells a story about a hermit priest in his diocese who just recently died to illustrate this point. The hermit, much like Pope Benedict XVI in his last years, was afforded a great deal of quality time with God in prayer, and no one who spends that much time in prayer will fail to know God’s love and mercy more deeply.
Even though we laypeople may not have the luxury to spend hours in prayer each day, we can learn valuable lessons from someone like a diocesan hermit to grow in the knowledge and love of God, such as the importance of frequent confession, reception of the Eucharist, and adopting a private devotion like the Rosary.
“I think it is important that it starts with [going] to confession,” Bishop Strickland says. “Because that’s where Christ starts. That’s just what it says in the Gospel. Just recently we read Him saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.'”
Of course, it is entirely fitting to share God’s love with others as we come to know it ourselves. His Excellency says that although the love of God is a high bar we can never really live up to in this life, we nevertheless do others a “disservice” by watering down the Gospel message.
“To not give them the fullness of Jesus Christ is a travesty. It is to give them a counterfeit Gospel that is somehow watered down, as if all this is an ideal that you can’t live up to. What a crock,” Bishop Strickland says. “And what a disservice, what a lack of love, what a lack of faith to say, ‘Oh, the present generation can’t live up to this, so we’re going to water down the truth, and we’re going to say you don’t really have to repent.’ What this tells people is that God’s love isn’t real.”
His Excellency continues: “And God’s love is reality. And that’s why I guess I was so inspired with the experience of this hermit’s funeral. Because this man knew the love of God and knew that all reality flows from that love of God. And it’s such a counterfeit Church, a counterfeit world, a counterfeit universe that is being promoted when it’s not focused on the love of God.”
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