Bishop Michael J. Hoeppner

Motto

I have chosen my motto from the third chapter of St. Paul's letter to the Colossians. In this chapter, St. Paul calls the faithful of Colossae “God's chosen people, holy and beloved.” He describes the community life these faithful have entered into through baptism. In doing so, he first lists five virtues that characterize the lives of those transformed through baptism, virtues that are to mark their life together. In their relations with one another, they are to have the “heart of compassion.” They are always to act with “humility, meekness and patience.” They are to “forgive one another…as the Lord has forgiven you.”

 

Paul has described these virtues as “the new garments of Christ” (v 12). He then goes on to speak of the one outer garment, the final garment that covers all the others and binds them all together. “Above all these put on charity, which is the bond of perfection” (v 14). Agape , Christian charity, love, as Jesus has shown us, is the virtue above all others by which the disciples of Jesus are known. Finally, St. Paul notes that in all their dealings with one another, they are to make the peace of Christ the standard: “may the arbiter in your midst be the peace of Christ, to whom you have been called in one body” (v 15).

How will the faithful live such a loving and peace-filled life together? St. Paul goes on to explain how. It will happen if they are always eucharistoi , thankful. They must: “let the word of Christ dwell in you in all its richness.” This word of Christ dwelling in their hearts will result in their “teaching and admonishing oneanother,” helping one another to live as faithful members of the community of believers. It will lead to “singing in your hearts to God” (v 16).

Finally, in summing up, St. Paul directs the faithful to “do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus: (v 17). All thoughts, words and actions are to be done in the name of the Lord Jesus. One of the ways those in the early Church were described, in fact, was as those “who call upon the name of the Lord” (cf. Romans 10:13). Everything, now, must be done “in the name of the Lord Jesus.