A Seed Planted" Good Friday Message to the
Diocese of Lake Charles 2007
By Bishop Glen John Provost
This is my first message to you, the beloved people of the Diocese of Lake
Charles. We are all aware that it is Good Friday, a day that has always been
to me a moment of serene reflection on the Passion and Death of Our Lord
Jesus Christ. It is a day like no other, when a pall of silence descends on
routine activity to remind us that the Savior died for us. It is a day that
reminds us of the existence of suffering.
We live in a world, particularly in the developed West, that has great
difficulty dealing with suffering. We try to re-define, re-name, or even
deny it. However, like some inevitable sunrise whose light creeps in through
the drapes we have closed to hide it, suffering enters our lives and wakes
us up to another reality. As one great writer once described it, suffering
is God screaming to us.
Suffering exists. I think of those who are still displaced by Hurricane Rita
in our diocese. My heart goes out to them. Their homes lost, souvenirs of a
lifetime gone. I think of the older gentleman in my former parish, displaced
by Katrina, who, having seen his destroyed home after months of waiting, sat
on the steps and died. These are our brothers and sisters, and we cannot
forget them. I think of the young service men and women returning from war,
some permanently disabled. They will face the future heroically as they
faced the challenge of giving themselves in service to their country. Others
mourn the loss of a beloved, the widows, the widowers, the children. All of
these and so many more suffer pains deep in their hearts known only to them.
To them we must say, Christ also suffered, and in His suffering gave meaning
Our Lord Jesus Christ said in the Gospel of St. John, "Amen, amen, I say to
you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a
grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit" (John 12:24). He was
speaking of Himself. He was to die and His death would not be an ending. He
would rise on the third day. There is no Resurrection without death. Then,
we must recall, He extended the benefits of that redemption to us. "Whoever
loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will
preserve it for eternal life" (John 12:25).
There are numerous ways to view suffering, and the redemptive way is to see
it as an invitation. The cross is an invitation to union. We bring it our
own sufferings. We join our sufferings to Christ, and when we do, a great
marriage takes place, a nuptial union between Christ and His Body. With
Christ¹s sufferings we are swept up into the reality of His redemption. If
suffering is indeed God screaming to us, then the cross is truly a loud cry
above a noisy world to remind us of a God who loves and redeems us.
I join in Christ¹s love for you. I am so blessed to be in Lake Charles and
look forward to my years as your bishop. I extend to you my best wishes and
blessings for a joyful celebration of Easter.
Devotedly yours in our Lord,
Bishop Glen John Provost