This article is based on a sermon Fr. Leo Patalinghug gave at the University of Steubenville.
God is pro-life. That’s just all there is to it.
God wants us to live. God wants us to not just simply recognize the gift of life in a cluster of cells.
My gosh, can you imagine, we spend so much money to send people into different parts of the universes so that we can find a drop of water, because if we find water that means that there’s life there.
Yet we won’t recognize the little cluster of cells that looks like an alien chicken nugget, basically. But that is life itself.
And then there will be some people who say, “Oh, but it’s not a baby, it’s a fetus.” And I say, “Learn your Latin, because fetus simply means small person.” Boom, that’s all I gotta say.
Because God is not just about the life that is in a mother’s womb, but God wants life to be respected at the borders. God wants life to be respected on the other side of the political aisle. God wants life to be respected no matter what color or religion they are. God wants us to respect life, even if it’s an abandoned, elderly person in a forgotten nursing home.
You see, one of the reasons why we may struggle with our pro-life message is because we may only respect one life, and not accept all. And therefore, we probably need to say that God is not only pro-life, God is pro-living. The quality of life.
He doesn’t even want us to be imprisoned, which is why we hear in the Psalms, “God rescued me.” I mean, I work with ex-convicts. I hire them to cook with me. And then I’m even gonna be hopefully opening up my restaurant, and basically letting people know that food is very forgiving.
If we’re willing to feed people, and feed the flock at least three times, we will be forgiven those three times we denied Jesus.
Why Catholics Aren’t Boring: God’s Love Gives Us Life
God is all about Catholic, pro-life style.
Which is why people surprise me when they say, “But Catholics are boring.”
People, if you’re bored, it’s not my fault, it’s yours.
Because you don’t come to church to be enlivened. You gotta realize that without our Catholic faith, and our Catholic celebrations, our economy would tank.
Christmas, that’s our Saint Nicholas. Champagne on New Years Eve, that’s our Catholic monk Don Pérignon who created that. You think about the idea of chocolate, wine and roses, it’s because someone knew how to truly live in love. Saint Valentine’s, bishop and martyr.
People who would even eat corn beef cabbage and green beer? But it’s because our Saint Patrick knows what its like to live.
He was enslaved, and yet he knew that he was free in Christ. And even on that day, I’m Irish, and I changed my name to Father Lee O’Patalinghug. That’s who I am. And why? Because in our Catholic faith, if you believe in Jesus Christ, you are a brother and sister. You are enlivened by the spirit.
So what I want to make sure you do, is when you leave here, you go out there and live your Catholic faith. You don’t need speakers to encourage you. (Although, we would be happy to come to your parish if you hire us!)
God’s Love Gives Us Life: Jesus Teaches Us to Live
But, you need Jesus, who teaches you how to L-I-V-E. Live.
And L would really stand for me, and I’m preaching to myself. L, if you really want to live, could mean learn to love losers. Including someone who might dress in black trench coats and play violent video games, and if rejected by a girl, makes that video game come to reality in a school.
You gotta learn to love the losers. The fact is, we’re all losers, and God loves us. And only when we’re willing to love the people who might be on the fringes of society, like Jesus would be willing to do, then we’re not really living.
You see, if we’re not willing to love losers, then we might not recognize that that loser is still a child of God.
And I’ll be honest with you, I thought that one of my brother priests was a loser.
I didn’t like him. He didn’t like me. It happens.
Brothers can sometimes argue with each other. Right brother priests? We might not even like another people, but we gotta learn to love them.
And it was so interesting, because this one priest who I didn’t like. Because frankly, he was just, he had everything going for him. He was talented, he was good looking, he was tall, yuck, right? I couldn’t stand him.
And he didn’t like me because I had a cooking show, and that was just the fact. We can sometimes not like each other. But I gotta learn to love him.
He got cancer. And I visited him at the hospital, just out of obligation. And you know what? We’re best friends now. Just that one act of learning how to love each other.
The Truth: God’s Love Gives Us Life
I. Besides learning how to love losers, I, integrate inspired information. Integrate inspired information.
Stop integrating #fakenews. It’s out there. Integrate inspired information.
Which means stay connected to the inspiring people that you met along the way. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, get the books. I’m not promoting my stuff. Ok, I am. Only because I didn’t write it for me. I wrote it so that you can have information. We did our things from adoreministries.com, to emilyministries.com, to Paul George’s discovertheartofliving.com. You look at Chris Mueller, and he’s got a great movement called everydaycatholic.com.
We spend more time integrating useless information and gossip than truth. And that’s what we’ve got to do. Find the inspiration, and put it in your life as a part of your daily life.
V. If you really want to live. Visualize and verbalize veritas. The truth. Speak the truth. Look the truth.
You know I know somebody who is really attractive. They had a lot of work done on them. They didn’t need it, they were just beautiful enough, but they wanted to be even more beautiful. And so they got all of this stuff added to them. I can’t imagine what it’s like in heaven, when God comes up to them and like, “Hey, where did you get those?” Attitudes, that I was talking about. What were you thinking, people?
You know, what we’ve got to do is be more authentically us. And I think what we’ve got to do when we become more truthful to ourselves, we become more beautiful.
And then, you visualize the truth. I look at Mother Teresa of Calcutta. The woman is this tall. She’s adorable. I want to wear her as a necklace. And I know that might sound creepy, but why else do you put jewelry around your neck? Because it makes you feel beautiful.
And being around someone who is so wrinkled and old and hunched back, but she was living the truth. And she was beautiful. And she would say really weird things. Like, when I met her, she said, “Put Jesus Christ on your shoulder.” And I’m like, “Yes, Yoda. I mean Mother.” I mean, I didn’t know what to think.
And then I remember going to see the Franciscan Friars of New York working with inner city children. And they were playing King of the Hill. And one of the little kids was trying to climb on one of the brother’s shoulders. And of course he let him up on his shoulder, and then he swung him around.
And then I realized what Mother Teresa said to me years before. Put Jesus on your shoulder. In other words, help carry the burdens of other people.
Don’t put anybody down. Lift them up. And that visual, and the verbalization of the veritas helps us to live.
God’s Love Gives Us Life in the Eucharist
Then the final maybe recipe for me, on how to truly be pro-lifestyle, pro-living. E. Engage and eat energy.
Some of you had no clue that I had a cooking show, every Friday at 6:30. But basically, you had also no idea that I beat Bobby Flay on the Food Network throw down. Many of you did not know that. And that’s okay.
So basically, you guys didn’t know that. But I gotta tell you. When I was on TV beating Bobby Flay, just saying. But when I was on TV, I actually got a lot of criticism for being on TV with a cooking show.
And I just had to remind these good, spiritual Catholics, that Jesus ate with people.
I have no idea if you realize, but the last line that was read in the gospel just now was, “And give this girl something to eat.” And why? Because while it is awesome that a woman can touch energy and boom, be healed. Guess what we can do? We can taste and see the energy that gives us life.
The Eucharist is truly food for the soul. And that’s why we’ve got to more than just touch the garments of Jesus, which we can do. When we touch the sick, the poor, the broken and lonely. Because Jesus is enrobed in them.
But we also have to know, we can do more than touch. We can taste and see the goodness of the Lord. And that happens at every mass. Whether there’s awesome music or awesome homily or awesome people around you. You have to understand how to approach the mass.
I encourage you to do to daily mass. Go when it’s quiet. Go when you can simply be you. And experience the grace, not just in the bombastic, but also in the simplicity and the silence.
I went to mass at the North American college in Rome. I studied there as a seminarian. And we had mass with the Pope. Saint John Paul the Second. That man used my chalice. His lip mark was on my chalice. I didn’t wash it for a year. It was amazing.
Live in Jesus Christ
But, I remember having mass with the Pope, I called my mother I’m like, “Mom. Guess what I did?”
She’s like, “What?” “I had mass with the Pope.”
And she said, “Oh. I had mass with Jesus.”
You see, I sometimes think that while we need these event Christianities, we also need daily lifestyle Catholicism. We need to make sure that when people see us, they don’t just see us as pro-life, but as pro-living.
Living our faith, so that we can show that our Lord and savior takes no pleasure in death. And he’s not a God of the dead, but a God of the living. And the only way we’re gonna be able to do that, is when we eat his flesh and drink his blood.
For without that, we will have no life in us. So as we journey forth, and I kinda don’t like that word, because it just, sounds like a corny 1970s folk music song. But it’s a good word. Because the word journey, where we get journal, is when we get “giorno” in Italian. “Journée” in French. It’s daily.
When I was walking around, and holding the blessed sacrament last night, and just praying to God that I don’t trip, there would be times when I would look at you, and some of you had no clue what was going on.
Yet, you heard the music and you heard the pastoral recommendation, just give yourself to him, and I know that some of your are like, “I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m gonna try to give myself to Jesus. Why are tears coming out of my face right now? Oh my gosh, I’m starting to do the ugly cry.”
And can I tell you what I saw? I saw life. And I saw what it’s like to live, and I saw you living your faith. And while you didn’t fully understand it, and still may not, you don’t have to. In this moment.
As long as you continue to live in Jesus Christ, it will all make sense. And every day of your life will be lived to the fullest.
And that’s the reason why we’re not afraid to die. Because we know that when we die in the Lord, we will live in the Lord.
And the only way that we’re gonna live in the Lord in heaven, is if we live every day of our life with him now. Our God is so totally pro-life. But let’s just make sure that we maybe create a new hashtag. Our God is pro-living.