Fr. James' Letters

February 26, 2023

Dear Parishioners,

I find the temptation in the desert so interesting and insightful. It is a great guide for the spiritual life.

First, Jesus, after being baptized, does not immediately ‘get to work.’ The baptism, as you’ll recall, was the official beginning of his public ministry. The 30 years of the hidden life were over. Does he go straight to Galilee, perform miracles, find the apostles, and teach the Sermon on the Mount? No. He goes to pray. He goes to fortify himself in the love and grace of God. He was able to withstand the tiredness, the assaults, and the betrayals over the next three years because of this forty day retreat. Our day – our life – too will be more fruitful and fulfilling if we start with prayer. Don’t rush off into work. Ground yourself in the Lord.

Second, Satan attacks Jesus’ identity. “If you are the Son of God,” he says at each temptation. Remember, God the Father had spoken at the baptism, saying “You are my beloved son.” Satan tries to undercut this; to make Jesus doubt that this occurred. He hopes Jesus, from the place of insecurity, will fall for the bait. He doesn’t. Nor should we. We are God’s beloved sons and daughters. Satan will try to get us to think otherwise – that we’re alone and need to prove ourselves.

Third, Satan played off Jesus’ apparent needs. Jesus was literally hungry, so Satan tempted with bread. I guess we could claim Jesus was also desirous of having God protect him (Satan’s second temptation to jump from the roof), and that Jesus desired to rule the world (Satan’s proposal to have all the kingdoms). These were good desires of our Lord, and they would be fulfilled… by the Father. Behind every false desire the enemy proposes to you is a good and holy desire. Focus on that one, and look not to Satan, but to God for its fulfillment.

---------- + ----------

If you missed last week, I’ve written a booklet of daily reflections for Lent. The entire, completed booklet can be found on our website.

This Monday we begin our Lenten Monday Evenings of Prayer, starting with Eucharistic Adoration in the church at 6pm. Father Nick will give the talk on prayer at 7pm. We will also have Stations of the Cross on Friday at 7pm.

Thank you for your support of the Annual Catholic Appeal, which we conducted last weekend in church. If you missed out on the chance to send in a contribution, we still have envelopes. Many of you sent in your contribution through the mailing you received, and I thank you. Please help our parish meet its goal and support the local church in Chicago.

Please, when you have a moment, fill out the Disciple Maker Index survey, which will help our parish identify our strengths and challenges. Click here to learn how to fill out the survey online.

Yours in Christ,

Who is Fr. James?

Father James Wallace grew up in Winnetka, Illinois and attended Sts. Faith Hope and Charity grammar school, New Trier High School, and then The George Washington University in Washington DC, where he earned his undergraduate degree in Political Science in 2007. He attended seminary at The Pontifical North American College in Rome and was ordained a priest in 2012 for the Archdiocese of Chicago. In addition to being the pastor of Saint Paul of the Cross Parish, he serves as a canon lawyer for the Archdiocese, a dean in Vicariate II, and a professor of canon law and spiritual director at Mundelein Seminary. He is also one of the featured Mercy Home Sunday Mass celebrants, airing Sundays at 9:30am on WGN.

E-Newsletter Signup!

Contact Information

St. Paul of the Cross

320 South Washington Street
Park Ridge, IL 60068

View Larger Map

Phone: (847) 825-7605

Mass Schedule

UC = Upper Church
HFC = Holy Family Chapel 

Monday - Friday

6:25 am UC

8:30 am UC


8:30 am UC - weekday Mass

4:30 pm UC - vigil


7:30 am UC

9:00 am UC

10:30 am UC and HFC

12:00 pm UC