Welcome to The Open Door

Gerrit van Honthorst – Adoration of the shepherds

Christmas Reflection for Open Door – Janet Centini

I vividly recall the first time I met Fr. Chet in person.  He was “interviewing” me and my husband for two spots in his “last” SDI class.  I had heard it was his “last” class for several years so we decided it might really be so and joined the 2009-2011 SDI program.  I can only speak for myself (although I know my husband feels the same way) — The SDI program changed my life and literally opened my eyes to great joy and great love.  During our first year, Fr. Chet sent this Christmas letter.  I just found it and am sharing with each of you.

Christmas 2009

“The day will come when, after harnessing space, the winds, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love.  On that day, for the second time in the history of the world, mankind shall discover fire.’ (Teilhard de Chardin)
For the past thousand years the Western world had misinterpreted love and applied the term to what Robert Johnson calls “romantic love” or what the Middle Ages called “courtly love.”  As Dr. Johnson explains in his book “We,” we project upon an individual human being all the ideals that belong only to God and can be fulfilled only by a union with God and the doing of God’s will.
Romantic love will always be disappointing.  When the human being fails to live up to our projected expectations, we may “fall out of love” with that person.  We then begin to look for some other human being upon which we can project our ideals of love.  Once again we will find ourselves “falling in love,” only to be again disappointed.  Eternal, unlimited love is something that no human being can fulfill.
True love is loving God and other the way Jesus loved.  It puts the interests of God and others ahead of one’s selfish desire.  True love is not easy but difficult.  It requires sacrifices of one’s selfish ambitions, dreams, hopes, interests.  Yet it is the only form of love that bring fulfillment to us.  We were created by God to love and we miss the whole purpose of creation when we refuse to love unselfishly.
Each year at Christmas we celebrate and commemorate the unselfish love of God and Mary in the bring the Lord Jesus into our lives.  It is the perfect time in our life to “harness for God the energies of love.”  We are challenged by God to spread the fire of love in every person we encounter during the Christmas season.
God bless all of you this Christmas and throughout the New Year.
Chester P. Michael, 2009
**Let’s remember Father’s advice to all:  Discernment should be a daily practice for as little as 5-10 minutes!

Monsignor Chester Michael (1916-2014) RIP

We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28) RSV

(favorite Bible quote of Fr. Chet’s)

 10498207_10204416414319929_1052966899565092963_oPhoto by Dr. Tim Short of Fr. Chet who loved to hike in the Shenandoah Mountains

It is with great sadness that we report that Monsignor Chester Michael peacefully passed away on Thursday at 3pm on July 31, 2014 at age 97 while in hospice care. Rev. Msgr. Chester P. Michael, a retired priest of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, was born in Berkeley Springs, WV, in 1916, ordained to the priesthood at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in 1942, and was a faithful priest of the Diocese for 72 years. Please remember Msgr. Michael and his family in your prayers.

Remembering Monsignor Chester Michael (click for more stories and photos)