A Note From Father Eickhoff

July 14, 2024


The Opening Prayer to today’s Mass includes a couplet that I think bears some consideration as to what it means for our lives as Christians.

The line reads:

“…the grace to reject whatever is contrary to the name of Christ

        and to strive after all that does it honor.”

 There are two opposing movements to this couplet that inform how we are meant to live our lives as Christians. The first is to avoid or reject those thoughts, words, or deeds that are inimical to the Christian way of life. The wording of the first movement is clear and hard. There is not any “wiggle room” to the phrase. We are called to not do those things that are against our Lord Jesus Christ. Period. The second movement directs us to carry out those thoughts, words, and actions that do follow the Christian way of life. However, the wording used is somewhat “open-ended,” that is to say that it does not demand that we do “good actions.” Instead, it calls upon us to try and do good things. It is a subtle difference, but a difference, nonetheless.

What does this difference mean?

It is surely easier to not commit a relatively small set of thoughts, words, and deeds then it is to definitively carry out an open-ended commitment to living our lives as Christ taught us. God you might say is trying to make things easier for us as we live as disciples of Jesus. We are not being called to absolutely and always do the right thing without fail, but rather to try and do the right thing without fail. Now, this does not mean that we should not attempt with all our heart, mind, and strength to live as Christ taught us. Nor does this mean that we should not seek out God’s help in living as Christ taught us to live. Both our own efforts and the help of God are necessary to living the Christian life. However, it does mean that God understands that we will struggle and will not hold it against us when we fall short so long as we are sincerely trying to live the Christian life. God, in His mercy is making allowances for our weakened human nature by dealing generously with us.

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Stephen Eickhoff