Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of everyone of you for one another is increasing. Therefore we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith during all your persecutions and the afflictions that you are enduring.
This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, and is intended to make you worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering.
To this end we always pray for you, asking that our God will make you worthy of his call and will fulfill by his power every good resolve and work of faith, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
In reflecting on Paul’s letter, I unexpectedly was moved to tears.
Tomorrow, a prayer vigil to remember slain journalist James Foley and to show support for the Foley family will be held at 6 p.m. in Milwaukee’s Church of the Gesu. Suddenly it hit me that Paul’s words to the Thessalonians are beautifully and painfully addressed to the Foley family, the Marquette University community James so dearly loved, and all who mourn the loss of a true man for others.
Grace and peace from God the Father and Jesus Christ to you, James, the Foley family, and all in your faith-filled community, says Saint Paul.
Thank God for you because your faith flourishes ever more, and the love of every one of you for one another grows ever greater.
Because of your endurance and faith in all your persecutions, your work in building the Kingdom of God continues. Even in the face of unfathomable evil.
We pray for you now, James, in gratitude for the good that you have brought to fulfillment through your faithful witness. And we ask for your intercession to give us the strength to respond to God’s call by continuing as a community of faith, hope, and love in a world that needs us more than ever.
Visit Marquette University’s website for more information on the prayer vigil, the James Foley Scholarship Fund, and a moving letter James wrote his alma mater (class of 1996) in 2011 after his first abduction in Libya.
—Jeremy Langford is the director of communications for theMidwest Jesuits and author of Seeds of Faith: Practices to Grow a Healthy Spiritual Life ©2007 Paraclete Press, Brewster, MA.
St. Francis de Sales, patron saint of writers and journalists
Strengthen and direct, we pray, the will of all whose work it is to write what many read, and to speak where many listen.
May we be bold to confront evil and injustice: understanding and compassionate of human weakness; rejecting alike the half-truth which deceives, and the slanted word which corrupts.
May the power which is ours, for good or ill, always be used with honesty and courage, with respect and integrity, so that when all here has been written, said and done, we may, unashamed, meet Thee face to face.
—posted by Marquette University in honor of alumnus James Foley, 1973-2014Please share the Good Word with your friends!