Posted by: matt25 | February 12, 2010

First Letter of Matthew To The Collinsians

This is a note written to the Christian inmates at Collins Correctional Facility that I have come to know through prison ministry.  It is written in the style of, and borrows heavily from the letters of St Paul in the New Testament.  I hope you find some value in it.
Matt <><

First Letter of Matthew To The Collinsians

Matthew a slave and disciple of Christ Jesus, to all the holy ones in Christ Jesus who are in Collins Correctional Facility, with the corrections officers and chaplains, grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I give thanks to my God at every remembrance of you, praying always with joy in my every prayer for all of you, because of your partnership for the gospel from that first Kairos weekend I shared with your community 23 years ago until now as we begin the preparations for Collins Christian Ministries #3.

I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of
Christ Jesus. It is right that I should think this way about all of you, because I hold you in my heart, you who are all partners with me in grace, both in my work as a chaplain’s assistant and in my long fellowship with you as a volunteer in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. And this is my prayer: that your love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value, so that you may be pure and blameless as you go before the parole board or are released as you finish your full sentence, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.

Thus it is with that joy that the world cannot give, that I write to you now to encourage you to continue in your preparations for the next retreat that we will, by the unsurpassed mystery which is the grace that strengthens us from heaven when we humble ourselves to pray and trust to the providence of Christ Jesus, share with your brothers in prison who God is calling to a deeper relationship with him. And this is the foremost preparation to which you must attend and that I pray you will live, as a beacon to guide your brothers past the obstacles of the adversary, through communal and solitary worship of the triune and ever living God that you may become of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing. Doing nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regarding others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not first for his own interests, but everyone for those of others. Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus.

In doing this our brothers who have lost their way cannot help but see you as a sign of contradiction which stands against the darkness and inhumanity which ever seeks to extinguish the divine light which each child of God is imbued with from birth, a light which we in our humble service will help to grow in strength and brightness, so that it may in turn draw others, for the glory of God. For this is the beauty of our ministry, that a friend of God, with no motivation or ability to gain advantage from association with me other than the joy that comes from working for the kingdom, chose to share their love of Jesus the Christ with me and in so doing helped me to see and accept the invitation to be a part of the community of saints. And in joining that community I found grace overflowing which I have shared with you and you now share in turn with others. So I exhort you to remember and live according to this call; Make a friend, be a friend, and bring that friend to the Christ. As this applies to our immediate circumstance this will lead them to sign their contracts with Deacon Jack Burke and Sister Mary Lou, to attend what the facility regards as a program but we know to be a community of love, known as Collins Christian Ministries.

I myself shall come to you after I spend some time at Christ the King Seminary in my formation program for possible ordination as a permanent deacon in the service of God’s holy church. I must also delay a bit longer as the following weekend will find me at the diocesan youth convention for the Church of Buffalo. Perhaps I shall be able to spend some additional days with you after that if the Lord permits.

Give my greetings to every holy one in Christ Jesus. Mary Jane, Don and Sam who are with me send you their greetings; all the holy ones send you their greetings, especially those of the Cursillo household.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

In  the  King’s Service,

><>      Matt


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