The Word Among Us

July 2015 Issue

A Principle? Or a Person?

A Letter from the Publisher

A Principle? Or a Person?: A Letter from the Publisher

Experiencing breakthroughs is a common theme in the Gospels. Over and over again, people had their eyes opened, and they were changed.

Some who met Jesus broke through from sin to mercy. Others broke through from dullness to new life. Breakthroughs were not limited to initial experiences, either. The apostles had a number of them: Peter from his impetuous nature, John from his self-righteousness, and Thomas from his doubts. And all of them broke out of their desire to be considered the greatest apostle.

Forty-four years ago, in May of 1971, I experienced a dramatic breakthrough as well. As I sat in the back row at my first prayer meeting, Jesus became real and alive to me. It is the most treasured moment in my life. Before then, I was a “good Catholic boy” who went to Mass, tried to be good, and didn’t want to go to hell. But at that prayer meeting, one of the leaders gave a talk based on three words: “Why this waste?” She spoke about the woman in Scripture who anointed Jesus’ feet with an alabaster jar of perfume. The apostles saw this act to be an unnecessary and extravagant waste, but Jesus called it “a good thing” (Mark 14:6).

“It’s not a waste of our lives to pour ourselves out on Jesus,” the leader said, and I was deeply moved by her words. As a result of that one prayer meeting and that one talk and that one moment of heavenly grace, I gave my life to the Lord. I wanted to waste my life on Jesus.

In her talk, the leader said, “The apostles were stuck on principle, but Jesus is a person, not a principle.” Acting only on biblical principles can mislead us, even when the principles are good. We can go to church, pray, serve in a parish ministry, or work with the needy because of our principles, and that’s a very good thing. But this story makes it clear: person-to-person worship, devotion, and love touch Jesus in a way that nothing else can. Of her own volition, the woman in this story wasted a year’s worth of wages on Jesus simply because she loved him.

Change the Atmosphere. Every time I go to Mass, I dream about how the Church could be “filled with the fragrance” of our worship, just as “the house was filled with the fragrance” of the woman’s perfume (John 12:3). I dream about everyone—myself included—experiencing new breakthroughs as we worship the Lord and listen to his word.

Let’s make that dream a reality. Let’s come to Mass with our hearts filled with the “fragrance” of our lives and then pour our hearts out to the Lord. Let’s pray that our disposition of praise, adoration, and love will affect the atmosphere in our churches. If we do, we can be sure that God will see the “good thing” we are doing and that he will use it to bless everyone around us. Who knows? Someone might just experience a breakthrough next Sunday—all because of our prayer and worship!

I hope you enjoy reading our articles this month. I hope they encourage you to take one more step in “wasting” your life on Jesus.

Joe Difato, Publisher | Email the Publisher at [email protected]