On March 1, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles issued a new pastoral letter: “For Greater Things You Were Born: A pastoral letter to the family of God in Los Angeles on God’s beautiful plan of love for our lives and our world.” And while the document is directed at the people of his archdiocese, Archbishop Gomez’s words are relevant and inspiring for all Catholics. Here are five reasons to give it a read.
It’s fundamental. As Catholics, it sometimes can feel like we are fighting an uphill battle against culture and society. It can be easy to shrug our shoulders, to think, “What’s the point to all this struggle?” and forget why we’re here in the first place. In his letter, Archbishop Gomez reminds us that there is a purpose to our existence — that we each were created for a specific reason. We are called to holiness — to get to heaven and to bring as many people with us as possible. Keeping that fundamental reality front-and-center can help us navigate the difficult times.
It is true. I’m not going to dive into the realm of “fake news,” but I do think it’s important to note that we live in a culture where putting our finger on the truth is becoming more and more challenging. The reality of God and the meaning of the human person are suddenly up for debate. Archbishop Gomez speaks clearly the truth about the dignity of the person, the significance of being created in the image of God and the importance of vocation. He also reminds us of how we are responsible for one another and for preserving creation. It’s a healthy dose of truth in a confusing era.
It isn’t political. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I have reached the point of oversaturation when it comes to U.S. politics. Thankfully, this is not a political document. But while it doesn’t focus on party or issues, it does explain the Faith in a way that can and should help form and inform our consciences. And a well-formed conscience is the first step for Catholics to participating in the public square in a responsible and productive manner.
It’s full of hope. By the end of the document, you can’t help but be inspired. Archbishop Gomez writes in a way that’s both hopeful, enthusiastic and encouraging. He reminds us of our greater purpose and gives us examples of many holy men and women who have shown us the way.
It’s practical. In order to become who we are destined to be, Archbishop Gomez notes that we need a “practical ‘plan of life.’” To this end, he recommends developing the following habits: live deliberately and intentionally by offering our day to God in the morning and reflecting on how we did that evening; pray daily; read a passage from the Gospels daily; go to daily Mass as often as possible; make a daily examination of conscience and go to confession regularly; and practice the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
Read it all: archbishopgomez.org/planoflove.