Teaching truth is an expression of love, mercy writes Bishop Jenky in “Choice”

The “greatest possible expression of Christian mercy” the Catholic Church can offer a contemporary culture that celebrates unrestrained personal choice is to “boldly preach the truth, in season and out of season,” according to Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC.

“The first and greatest truth to which we must always give persistent witness is that Jesus is not a way, but rather the way, the truth, and the life,” writes Bishop Jenky in “Choice,” his 15th annual Festival Letter to the Diocese of Peoria.

The teaching document is dated Nov. 20, the close of the Holy Year of Mercy, and in an introductory letter Bishop Jenky called it the fruit of his meditation throughout the extraordinary jubilee period.

“I hope that it may help all of you to conclude this graced time with concrete resolutions to better live out our identity as Christians in an increasingly hostile world,” he wrote.

The full text of “Choice” is available online and will be printed in the Dec. 4 issue of The Catholic Post.

FOR GOD OR AGAINST GOD?

His Festival Letter opens with a rebuke of increasing moral “neutrality” or even “anarchy” in today’s world, saying the way of thinking that recognizes only personal truth has had “an enormous impact upon the lives of believers.” Bishop Jenky concludes with a plea to make the right choices, starting with the decision to follow Jesus.

“In everyone’s life, there is a critical choice to be made, that is either fundamentally for God or against God. With the greatest possible conviction, I urge all of you to choose the truth rather than self-deception.” Bishop Jenky in “Choice,” his 15th Festival Letter

“In everyone’s life, there is a critical choice to be made that is either fundamentally for God or against God,” writes Bishop Jenky.

“With the greatest possible conviction, I urge all of you to choose the truth rather than self-deception,” he continued. “Choose the community of believers rather than personal isolation. Choose life rather than death. Choose salvation rather than damnation. Choose Jesus Christ as your Lord and God.”

DO “CHRIST’S THING,” NOT OUR OWN

Bishop Jenky called it an “expression of love” for the church to clearly teach about right and wrong, marriage and the family, human sexuality, the gift of life, spiritual realities, and the emotional emptiness of selfish consumerism.

But he acknowledged that “we will necessarily appear more and more countercultural if we remain faithful to what we hold to be true.”

“Through our membership in the church, we are not called to do our own thing, as in the language of pop culture, but rather to do Christ’s thing,” he stressed. The choice to belong to the Lord, said Bishop Jenky, “profoundly makes sense of our human existence and empowers a transforming life of grace within God’s Holy Catholic Church.”

“We cannot with any integrity observe the rituals of Catholicism in church, while basically living like pagans in the world.” Bishop Jenky in “Choice,” his 15th Festival Letter

The Festival Letter includes repeated calls to share our faith and its truth with others.

“Everything we do in the Catholic Diocese of Peoria should consciously be designed to evangelize and make new disciples,” wrote Bishop Jenky. “We must never limit our efforts to simply maintaining what we are, but should instead work harder than ever to be what God wants us to become.”

Bishop Jenky asked that his instruction be widely shared.

“I pray that this year of Mercy has touched each of your lives and emboldened you to bring that Mercy to the world,” wrote Bishop Jenky, who will ceremoniously close the special year during the 10:30 a.m. Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria this Sunday, Nov. 20.

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