Messages by Father Chet

Photo by Mike Labrum on Unsplash

The Origin of Open Door

In December of 1968, Father Chet was pastor of Holy Comforter Parish in Charlottesville, Virginia. It was his practice to mail the parish bulletin and written reflections to a growing list of interested people. When he received a sizeable monetary gift to be used at his discretion, he formalized the operation and began in earnest to address a “variety of topics which might be of interest and of help in solving the problems, questions, and difficulties facing many of us today.”

This was the beginning of the Open Door publication. Over the next 40-plus years, Father Chet wrote about spiritual, theological, and psychological topics. Below are re-publications of his original messages.

The Dark Night: Feeling Lost and Abandoned

Father Chet, 1979 (republished February 4, 2024)

Being Open to the Comings of Jesus This Day

Father Chet, 2004 (republished December 9, 2023)

God comes to us in many ways. If we are being open, we will be ready to receive and respond to each of these comings. Scripture gives us two past comings of Jesus: at Bethlehem as an infant and at the River Jordan where Jesus is baptized before beginning his public ministry. We have two future comings of Jesus in our lives: at the moment of our death and at the end of time. And there are many present comings of Jesus, Jesus coming this day. Continue Reading

Living Out Freedom and Responsibility: From Death to Life

Father Chet, 1974 (republished October 5, 2023)

The Pascal Mystery, which refers to the new life which arose with the death of Jesus, is part of the mystery of all life. In order to rise to a new and higher level of faith, trust, love, and union with God, it is necessary to die to the present and the old. This experience of death and resurrection happens many times throughout our lives. We were not intended to remain at the same level of faith, hope and love. Yet, in order to progress, we must experience some level of dying. And that involves suffering as we have to abandon things near and dear to us. Continue Reading

Living Out Freedom and Responsibility in the Midst of Complexity

Father Chet, 1974 (republished August 7, 2023)

If there ever was a “simple way” of doing things, we can likely agree that it is gone forever. We must restructure our institutions to recognize, and embrace, the complexity of life without losing our foundation of Truth. We need institutions – and individuals – flexible enough to adjust to changed situations. Only then will we be capable of making positive contributions to society. Those who remain inflexible and cling stubbornly to the old, will either disappear or be relegated as archaic showpieces to some non-influential corner of society. We can study the past and learn from mistakes and successes, but as Jesus says, “Fresh skins for new wine.” Continue Reading

Living Out Freedom, Responsibility and the Dignity of Humankind

Father Chet, 1974 (republished June 8, 2023)

One of the most valuable insights of modern times is the increased appreciation of the dignity of humankind. For some, this appreciation has gone to the extreme of autonomy and independence from all law and restraint. However, its finest expressions are seen in a better understanding of the responsibility which we have toward the course of worldly events. While certain areas of life are indeed beyond our control, most people, whether they are believers or not, realize that both the present and the future are very much in our hands. The immense increase in knowledge and power in our time adds greatly to our freedom and our responsibility. Continue Reading

How to Encounter God: An Easter Message of Love

Father Chet, 1978 (republished April 16, 2023)

Since religion is primarily a loving encounter between God’s person and our person, there is an intimate connection between our capacity for natural, human love and our capacity for encounter with God. By grace, the person of God touches our inner self and fills us with God’s own life of love. Unless we have developed the natural powers for love within our soul, it is often impossible to enter into a full, loving union with God. Continue Reading

Mercy, Trials, Amen: More on the Lord’s Prayer, Part III

Father Chet, 1977 (republished February 11, 2023)

We are to show the same mercy to others as we hope to receive from God. We must be willing to forgive others “seventy times seven!” – which means to never refuse to forgive. This is the forgiveness and mercy we expect from God as a matter of course. We promise God in the Lord’s Prayer that this will also be the kind of mercy we show our fellow human beings… Continue Reading

Faith, Hope, and Charity: Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Father Chet, 1996 (republished February 6, 2022)

Deepening Your Prayer Life: All that I Am

Father Chet, 1979 (republished April 5, 2022)

Deepening Your Prayer Life: The Practice of Prayer

Father Chet, 1979 (republished June 7, 2022)

United Under Our Father: Meditation on the Lord's Prayer

Father Chet, 1977 (republished August 9, 2022)

Who Art in Heaven: Meditation on the Lord's Prayer, Part II

Father Chet, 1977 (republished October 16, 2022)

Give the Gift of Prayer this Christmas

Father Chet, 1999 (republished December 4, 2022)

Change: Knowledge, Resistance & Resilience

Father Chet, February 1, 1975 (republished Feb. 1, 2021)

Holy Week: The Redemptive Value of Suffering

Father Chet, Holy Week 1969 (republished March 30, 2021)

What are We Doing About Social Development?

Father Chet, June 15, 1971 (republished June 2, 2021)

A Crossroads: Unity in the Catholic Church (Part I)

Father Chet, March 31, 1973 (republished August 15, 2021)

A Crossroads: Holding onto Truth (Part II)

Father Chet, March 31, 1973 (republished October 2, 2021)

Advent A Gift of Time

Father Chet, Christmas 1992 (republished December 11, 2021)

Evils in Our Present Day of Life: Indifference

May 1, 1969 (republished Aug. 7, 2020)

Our Personal Challenge: Meeting the Needs of Our Times

February 1, 1969 (republished Oct. 4, 2020)

Honoring the Incarnation of God

December 1991 (republished Dec. 3, 2020)

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