FATHER LAM LE: From the bottom of my heart, thank you

Through various press releases, most of you know that I was appointed pastor of the newly- established Blessed John Paul II Parish in Cedar Springs.

In addition, my appointment includes being pastor of Mary, Queen of Apostles Parish in Sand Lake with responsibility for the seasonal chapel Santa Clara in Coral effective July 1. So, in the next couple of weeks, I will be wrapping up my ministries here as the pastor of St. Mary-St. Paul Catholic Parish. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all who read my column on the second Friday of the month (except for the last two months when I did not contribute due to workload).

I also thank the religion reporter at the newspaper who approached me two years ago with the invitation to contribute. As I am going through the experience of packing and transitioning, I would like to offer you a spiritual reflection based upon it.

Most of my belongings are books. I love reading, writing and teaching. Over the years, I have collected books, copies of articles and many other items that I thought might help me in my priestly ministry.

Now, in preparing for the next stage of life, it dawned upon me that my life must and should be more simplified.  It is painful to carry books to various libraries for donation. It is painful to put articles and academic research in File 13.

There always is that temptation: What if I need them again in the future?  There is, however, a quiet and firm voice in the depth of my conscience:  What is essential, is the Lord.

Material things, if they distract me from the Lord, must be set aside. The word of St. Paul now is dear and near to my heart: “Whatever gains I had, these I have come to consider a loss because of Christ.  More than that, I even consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” (Phil 3: 7-10).

It is obvious: God is calling me to the essentials in life — the Lord.

In the life of every individual, there are times that we have to pause and ask the question:  Where is God in our life? Is there anything that distracts us from our entering into a deep relationship with our Lord and the friendship with God that will serve as the foundation for our friendship with others?

These questions not only pertain to priests, but to all.  May we all pray with the psalmist:

“I bless the Lord who counsels me;

“Even at night my heart exhorts me.

“I keep the Lord always before me;

“With him at my right hand, I shall never be shaken.” (Psalm 16:7-8).

From the bottom of my heart, I wish all of you abundant blessings from the Lord.  May we always keep the Lord as the center of our life.

If you would like to keep in touch, please send me an email on my new account: frlle@grpriests.org.

 

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