Monday, September 28, 2015

Fr. Cedric Pisegna Mission 2nd Night: Sept. 28, 2015

2nd night of the mission with Fr. Cedric was very grace filled. We had great priests to help us experience God's mercy and love through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We thank Fr. Al Davidson (St. Joseph, Pierre Part), Fr. Chris Decker (St. James / St. Philip, Vacherie), Fr. Andrew Merrick (St. Jules / St. Elizabeth), Fr. Vincent Dufresne and Fr. Alec Sheldon of Tri-parish (Convent, Paulina, Gramercy-Lutcher) for their generosity of time hearing confessions. We still have one more night. Please come join us for mass with Fr. Cedric as the presider/homilist on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 7PM at Ascension Church (Note: No morning 7AM mass at St. Francis Tuesday due to evening mass). Below is the topic which Fr. Cedric preached on tonight.

You Can Change
by Fr. Cedric Pisegna

The Bible is full of words that speak about change. Repentance, metamorphosis, transformation, conversion, resurrection, rebirth, renewal, regeneration, healing and transfiguration: they all mean change! Surely the Word of God is telling us that change is possible! In other words, there is no rut deep enough and no mud thick enough to prevent you from progressing and going forward in your life.

Jesus called people to change. When he spoke, things happened. Peter abandoned his nets, boat, and family and followed him. Matthew left the security of his unjust income and followed Jesus. Throughout the Gospels women and men, rich and poor, encountered Jesus and their lives were never the same.

The urgency of his proclamation stressed that now is the right time to change. He was also saying that because of our fallen nature, change is a necessity. The word “repent” in the Greek is metanoia. Metanoia means to change your mind. Our thoughts, the flow of consciousness which determines our behaviors, can change. Metanoia has to do with moral activity, but goes beyond that. Jesus was teaching that we could change our mind about how we treat people. We don’t have to be unforgiving and cynical. We can change our mind about being negative. We can think positive thoughts and walk in faith instead of doubt. We can change our minds about sin. Rather than being caught in the strongholds of consistent habits of lust or selfishness, for example, we can experience freedom and selflessness. Jesus would not have told us to change unless it was possible and attainable.

The devil wants us to think that we can’t change. He has lied to us for so long that most people believe that they can’t change for the better, or even worse, that they are going backwards instead of forwards. Sometimes I feel like I have progressed in an area for some time and then suddenly I find myself backing up. I’ll think, “Oh no, after all this time, have I grown at all?” One night I had a dream and I was in a convertible (symbolic for conversion) and was backing up! I remember thinking, “I want to go forward!” We must understand that change is always a process and that at times it involves taking two steps forward and once in a while, one step backwards. Change does not always involve going forward. In fact the retreating steps we take (mistakes, sins, failures) can actually be beneficial because we can learn from them. They can also give us a new determination to go forward.

The evil one will constantly remind us of our failures and our sins. When I get discouraged about how far I need to go, I try to think about how far I’ve already come! I’m not exactly where I want to be in all aspects of my life, but I’m so glad I’m not where I used to be. The fact is, we are changing. Be confident of that. It is important that you think change, believe for change and even speak change.

Many times I will say out of my mouth (out loud) “I am changing, I am progressing, I am growing, I’ll never be the same, God is working in me.” Be optimistic. Be positive. It is true that God loves you just the way you are, but he loves you too much to leave you that way! God’s goal is to bring all of us to be virtuous, loving, fruitful people. Jesus was the first born of many brothers and sisters. We are being changed into the very image and person of the Son of God himself.

-Fr. Cedric Pisegna