Easter Letter 2023
"This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; listen to him."
Dear brothers and sisters
As we journey together through Lent, we are called to do so within a joyous and loving community that supports one another and inspires others to seek an encounter with our Lord. That is why the Holy Spirit calls us to be together as a parish family at Our Lady, the Mystical Rose.
Pope Francis in his Lenten message for this year, reflects on the gospel of the Transfiguration. “There we see the Lord’s response to the failure of his disciples to understand him. Shortly before, there had been a real clash between the Master and Simon Peter, who, after professing his faith in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, rejected his prediction of the passion and the cross. Jesus had firmly rebuked him: “Get behind me, Satan! You are a scandal to me, because you do not think according to God, but according to men!” (Mt 16:23). Following this, “six days later, Jesus took with him Peter, James and John his brother and led them away to a high mountain” (Mt 17:1).
Climbing the mountain is not an easy journey, going with Jesus makes it possible. The unification process has not been easy, walking with Jesus has made it less difficult. But let’s pause and think about it. Why not easy? Because going up the mountain to seek an encounter with God in the unification process; calls us to see a reality within ourselves. Perhaps we realized that we were out of shape to climb the mountain and going up requires going light, without so many things in the backpack. Am I out of shape? I don't mean the physical shape but spiritually. Let's ask ourselves, will I have a spiritual acedia? (Saint Thomas Aquinas defines acedia as "sorrow for spiritual good", that is, it is laziness and sadness in the human heart when it recognizes its responsibility to be holy. Acedia is the devil that says: "That is too difficult or "Someone like you could never be a saint").
Acedia is the spiritual laziness that leads to falling into routine, comfort, self-complacency, and we stop listening to the voice of God. What is God asking of me? Lent is exercising the listening skill in order to understand what God is asking of me. This lent let us go up with courage and seek to have an encounter with God in which we let our self be transformed and not be afraid to listen to Him. Not to be afraid in responding to Him.
Pope Francis says. “Lenten asceticism is a commitment to overcoming our lack of faith and our resistance to following Jesus on the way of the cross. This is precisely what Peter and the other disciples needed to do. To deepen our knowledge of the Master, to fully understand and embrace the mystery of his salvation, accomplished in total self-giving inspired by love, we must allow ourselves to be taken aside by him and to detach ourselves from mediocrity and vanity. We need to set out on the journey, an uphill path that, like a mountain trek, requires effort, sacrifice and concentration. Like a hike in the mountains.
Lent is intended to take us on this excursion to reach the transfiguration. Leaving behind the old self, the old way of thinking, the old ways of doing things, the apathy, the hopelessness and the disunity; all these attitudes contrary to the teachings of Jesus. Jesus took the 3 apostles to the mountain so that they could glimpse the Resurrection, the glory of God. Brothers and sisters, we have already embarked on this uphill path since July 1st and the Lord has envisioned for us a SINGLE COMMUNITY, ONE SINGLE HOUSE; We have already started this beautiful task of making 2 parishes ONE SINGLE parish at the RHYTHM OF THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS. A single catechetical program, coming together for faith formations, retreats, working together during the festivals, praying and praising God together under one single roof. Let the Lord continue to shape us according to His will, so that we may reach the day in which we radiate in fraternity and become an Agape community.
During this Lenten journey, let's keep in mind 2 attitudes. First "listen to the Voice of God" "listen to the voice of our brother and sister" so that we can walk together and make COMMUNITY. The Gospel tells us that the 3 apostles experienced the Shekinah (the glory of God) when the cloud descended and they heard the voice of God, falling face down on the ground. “The second invitation is not to take refuge in a religiosity made up of extraordinary events and dramatic experiences out of fear for facing reality and its daily struggles its hardships and contradictions. The Lord said to the 3 apostles: “rise and do not be afraid.”
Brothers and sisters, may this Lenten journey lift us up to top of the mountain seeking a transfiguration so that soon we will be the parish that God wants us to be. The community that God wants us to be for our brothers and sisters. The House where everyone feels welcomed. On this Easter of our Risen Lord, I humbly ask you to prayerfully consider making a suggested donation of $150 per family or what is within your possibilities so we may continue to carry on with the mission of our Lord by serving our brothers and siters trough the different services offered. You can send your gift to our parish office or online DONATE
Our Lady, the Mystical Rose Parish has been able to accommodate new and creative ways in which we reach out and offer God's light and love during this unification process. Please know that you are a gift to Our Lady, the Mystic Rose’s family. Your presence, whether in spirit or in person, means more to our local Church than you can imagine. May the Lord be with each of you during the Lenten season and Easter bring the fresh scent of the Mystical Rose. I pray for you and I ask that you please pray for me. May the loving fragrance of the mother of Our Lady, the Mystical Rose, continue to guide us to the loving heart of Jesus.
Fr. Sergio de la Torre - Carrillo