God offers us opportunities to follow, bishop says at rosary celebration
SUMMERVILLE — Millions of people are affected by one person saying yes to God.
During Mass at the seventh annual Diocese of Charleston Rosary Celebration held Oct. 11 at St. Theresa the Little Flower Church, Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone reminded people that they receive many invitations, but the most important come from God.
He referred to the day’s Gospel from Mark 10 where a rich man refused to give up his worldly possessions to follow Christ.
“God says give it all away and come follow me,” the bishop explained. “He says it with love. The evangelist made it very clear that Jesus says it with love. The man looked at Jesus with sadness, turned around and walked away. Was he condemned? No. He just never got the chance to live up to his potential for happiness in this life.”
The bishop told the congregation that they all have vocations.
“Some of you have the vocation of Christian marriage,” he said. “The Lord invites you to Christian marriage, not just marriage but Christian marriage. You are married in Christ when you say yes to marriage in the Lord and you say no to other things. Some of you have religious vocations. When priests say yes to Christ they say no to other things. You make choices. The man in the Gospel said no and went away sad. God will never ask us to do something that is not ultimately good for us.”
He offered St. Francis of Assisi as an example of someone who accepted God’s invitation though he suffered for it because his friends and family thought he was mad.
“He had to give up relationships to say yes to God,” Bishop Guglielmone said. “Millions of millions of people are affected by this man who said yes to God. The greatest model of all for someone who says yes is when an angel comes to a young woman. Mary said yes. Could she have said no? Of course. God knows us better than we even know ourselves. Sometimes we see what it is that God offers us but sometimes we don’t want to pay the price.”
People receive smaller invitations too. The bishop said being part of a world that has less and less God in it provides plenty of opportunities to follow Christ.
“Look at abortion,” he said. “God invites us to participate, to do what we can to turn this horrible thing around. We have 40 Days for Life vigils going on right now. Not all of us can do that, but everyone can pray. What is it we’re willing to do? We have choices.”
This year’s celebration, attended by approximately 200 people, was dedicated to the year for priests. Father Stanley Smolenski, diocesan shrine director, organized the event which was hosted by Msgr. Edward Lofton, pastor of St. Theresa.
The rosary celebration included an act of consecration to Our Lady of South Carolina — Our Lady of Joyful Hope, prayer and the rosary, followed by Mass and a social.
Father Smolenski introduced the rosary celebration with an explanation of the icon and spoke of the importance of the prayer. He explained that Mary teaches people through the rosary and Jesus teaches people through the Eucharist.
“He said do this in memory of me,” Father Smolenski said. “Are we at Mass in memory of Jesus, in memory of his life, death and resurrection? Mary gave us a very simple method to keep his memory fresh.”