Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Language of Love with Fr. Tim Kitzke

Fr. Tim Kitzke at Roses for Our Lady's May Crowning
On May 20th, his 26th anniversary to the priesthood, Fr. Tim Kitzke, the pastor of four parishes (including 7 churches), spiritual advisor for many groups within the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, and newly appointed Vicar General of the City of Milwaukee, a role in which he hopes to bring peace and hope to the city which has been beleaguered by violence, came to speak to the de Chantal Society at Saint Francis de Sales Seminary.   The de Chantal Society is led by Susan McNeil of the Nazareth Project and Lisa Brielmaier of Saint Francis de Sales Seminary, and their mission is to "spiritually form and inspire Catholic women who, like St. Jane de Chantal, are integral to families, vocations and the Catholic Church."  Following thirty minutes of silent Eucharistic adoration, Fr. Tim's talk was lively and inspiring and within it he gave us three challenges for the spiritual life.

The Language of Love by Fr. Tim Kitzke

Fr. Tim said that whenever he's preparing a homily or a talk, the Lord gives him little signs to help him in his preparation, and recently these signs came through a little girl, Magdalena, or Lena, for short, who accompanies her mother  when she meets Fr. Tim for spiritual direction.  


Fr. Tim said that his office is not child-friendly, and in it he has a large portrait of Our Mother of Perpetual Help that is on the floor leaning against the wall.  When Madgalena was a toddler and was learning how to crawl she used that picture of Our Mother of Perpetual Help to hold onto as she was learning to stand.  Fr. Tim, feeling nervous about the picture, told himself, "Tim, it's just a thing, let it go."  And the next thing he saw was little Lena looking at the image on the painting, and then she took her pacifier out of her mouth and tried to put it into baby Jesus' mouth!  He said this was a great symbol!  We're supposed to be pacifiers if we're living the language of love.

When Jesus ascends to heaven it's not to leave us as orphans, but so that we can take our proper role.   If Jesus were still here living in the world and walking among us, we wouldn't want to be listening to Fr. Tim, he wouldn't have a job. We'd be sitting at the feet of Christ, hanging on to His every word. But because Jesus ascended, we have to become peacemakers.  It's our first challenge. 

If you say that you love Jesus Christ, then you have to find peace in your heart before that peace can go out to others.  We have so much to worry about-the world, the Church, our children-but Jesus wants us to pray first of all for real peace to begin in our own hearts.  We have to find peace so that we can be peace and then we can find ways to pacify the world.

Open Doors

After Lena tired of sharing her pacifier with Jesus, she went to every door and tried to push it open.  That's our second challenge.  We're to open doors for others, and whatever door you open, open it wide.  We have a tendency, like the disciples, to stay behind locked and closed doors for fear.  But we need to engage, to open up our hearts to possibility.  Fear is paralyzing.  It closes our heart off.  There's an old Portuguese Proverb that says:  "A life lived in fear is a life half-lived."

Our demons come and they wake us up in the middle of the night causing us to lose sleep.  You have to cast out fear and get rid of whatever is demonic in your life.   Name your demons.  Give them a name  For example, there's the demon of self-loathing. Ask him to please leave.  And then pray to St. Michael the Archangel for his help.  Think about our baptismal promises.  Do you reject Satan?  The demonic powers have personal power.  They know the chinks in our armor and they know what will set us off into tailspins of fear.  We have to open the doors of our house to grace and peace.

Think of Jesus facing the demon in the desert, and in death, and when he descended into hell.  Why did Jesus have to go to hell?  One thought is that he had to face the devil in his own territory as an example to the disciples.  Another thought is that he went to hell because he was looking for Adam and Eve.  He had to go to the lowest part of hell to find them because they started this mess.  And there he found Adam with apple juice caked on his chin and Eve with tears crusted over her bereft eyes.  He tells them, "You weren't created for this.  Come with Me now."

When you wake up in the middle of the night tormented by demons, go to the medicine cabinet, and after you get over the shock of seeing yourself in the mirror, tell yourself, "You weren't created for this."

Use the Keys

After Lena found that pushing on the doors wasn't going to open them, she dumped out her mother's purse, found the keys and took them to the doors and tried to use them to unlock the doors.  Like Lena, we have the keys, it's the Church.  The Lord said to Peter, you are the rock and upon you I will build my Church.  We are challenged to use the keys of the Church to open and release fear, doubt, and anxiety.

Read holy scripture, pray the rosary or other devotions, spend quiet time in front of the Blessed Sacrament, go to Mass twenty minutes early or stay twenty minutes after Mass to pray.  Spiritual reading and coming to the de Chantal Society are also keys that will help us to live a spiritual life.  These are the keys that will help us to face the devil in battle.

Facing Failure

When Lena found that the doors were still locked and that her mother's keys didn't open them, she threw them down and jumped into her mother's lap.  Like Lena, we're going to face failure in the spiritual life.  We're going to obsess and face difficulties.  But the spiritual life is not a matter of success.  It's a matter of fidelity.  Half of life is just showing up!  So sometimes we just have to jump into our Mother's lap-into the arms of the Church and our Mother Mary's arms.  Yes, sometimes you will fail, but learn the language of "I kept trying." Sometimes you have to just let go and trust.  Faith is often a walk in the dark.

Fr. Tim said that after 26 years of the priesthood he's discovered that the more you let go, the better it is.  Somehow God works things out.  That's why we call it the mystery of grace. God will write straight with the crooked lines of our lives.

Realize that there have been people who have gone before you that know the way.  The saints give us an example and encouragement.  Aren't we lucky as Roman Catholics to have the saints?  We have a body of witnesses to walk with us.  They have a ladder of love that will take us to heaven.  

What the World Needs Now

Fr. Tim shared a story about his mother and how, in her last years on earth, he and his three siblings would all go to take care of her in her home.  They would clean her house, do the laundry and cook for her.  Fr. Tim went every Monday but one week his sister filled in for him.  The next week he asked his mom who cleaned better and his mom told him that he did.  So he called his sister to brag and she said, "That's odd because mom told me that I clean better!"  So Fr. Tim went back to his mom and asked her why she told both of them that they clean the best and she replied, "Oh Timmy, I only tell you what you need to hear!"

We all need to hear that we are loved unconditionally and irreplaceably.  As  St. Augustine says, God loves each one of us as if there were only one of us and He wants to help you.  Bask in the love of God.

If we take this seriously we can learn a new language, the language of love.  Or, as Fr. Tim has been frequently saying in his homilies and talks, what this world needs now is love, sweet love.

The next de Chantal Society meets on November 18th and 19th, 2015 at Saint Francis de Sales Seminary, 3257 S. Lake Drive in Milwaukee, with Bishop Richard Sklba.  The hour of adoration, benediction and spiritual formation is always followed by a wine and cheese or coffee and cake social.  It's a wonderful time for women to be uplifted and to visit with old friends, as well as to make new friends.  Visit their website here for more information.


  1. Luv the part about the baby trying to put the pacifier in baby Jesus' mouth. How cute to imagine this scene! cmj

  2. How wise and helpful!!! The little girl and her promptings are wonderful! So grateful for the Saints and the Church!! So thankful for you and your beautiful writing and Fr Tim's amazing teaching....

  3. Fr. Tim is an inspiration to the City of Milwaukee. I thank God for him!

  4. I agree Fr. Tim is a wonderful person and priest. He is a blessing to Milwaukee!