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Dear St. Martin’s Parishioners,

St. Paul reminds us in this Sunday’s second reading that through baptism we die to sin so to “live in newness of life.” Our baptism isn’t a one-time event, now over and done with, but a present reality we are called to live out daily. The problem is that we become accustomed to sin; unconsciously we accept it as a part of our lives. We may shrug our shoulders and excuse ourselves, “that’s just the way I am.” The brunt of the struggle of our spiritual life then is to combat an attitude of passive acceptance of our sinful tendencies. The newness of life that St. Paul proclaims is difficult for us, because it involves change. We tend to stagnate spiritually and resist taking the necessary steps to actually be free. In the end, many simply refuse to die to sin so as preserve a natural (and uneasy) sense of comfort. St. Francis de Sales writes, the “work of purging the soul neither can nor should end except with our life itself.”

As we celebrate July 4th, our nation’s Independence Day, we are reminded that true freedom requires great vigilance to preserve. To enjoy the spiritual freedom that we receive as a gift and an inheritance from God requires the cultivation of virtue, assiduous prayer, self-examination, repentance and discipline. St. Paul forcefully stresses that we “did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear,” but we “have received the spirit of sonship.” In the same vein, St. Padre Pio is adamant in his counsel, “Courage! In the spiritual life he who does not advance goes backward. It happens as with a boat which always must go ahead. If it stands still the wind will blow it back.” And St. Francis de Sales again: “In this war we are always victorious provided we are willing to fight.”

In Christ,

Fr. Dave

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