Becoming What God Intended

An Everyday Stewardship Reflection for the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2017

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How time flies! This coming year I will have one child graduate from college, one from high school, and one starting high school. I am exhausted thinking about it. My prayer for all my children is that they take the Holy Spirit with them in all that they do and call on God to aid them in discerning their future. That is my prayer, but I know that it will not always be easy for them to follow this path. The key will be for each of them, if they choose, to be what God intended them to be, as opposed to trying to be what they want to be.

It sounds great to say to a child, “You can be anything you want to be.” But at the core of this statement is often the lie that true happiness lies in fulfilling your will for your life. I have seen many people in my life that reached their goals only to find an emptiness and longing for something more. The reality is that our ultimate fulfillment and joy is becoming the person, not that we wanted to be, but the person that God created us to be. This does not mean that we are stuck in some predestined situation. There are many ways we can live out our destiny and use fully use the gifts God gave each of us. But it does mean that we have chosen a path based on where God is leading us and informed by an insight of the distinct gifts with which we have been created. At the end of that path is a life filled with joy, peace, and contentment.

This is what I want for my kids. May they find their success by discerning God’s will and becoming the wonderful people that God intended.

Witness

We want to solve everything don’t we?  How do we fix the economy? Which candidate will be better? How do we cure cancer? Or obesity? Or poverty? What about violence in the Middle East?

It is, of course, natural to be solutions oriented.  When there is a problem, we try to fix it. If someone is crying, we want to help them stop and then fix their broken heart. And yet we’ve all heard or known someone to say, “I don’t need you to fix my problem, I just want you to listen.”

As Church, we must be cautious of the fix-it mentality.  No doubt, there is a call to fix things in church and world at times and Christians should play a part when needed.  But we are not called as Christians to be fixers first.  Jesus didn’t say say, “Go therefore into all the world and fix it.” So what are we called to do?

Witness.

jean-vanierOne of my Catholic heroes is the philosopher Jean Vanier.  Vanier is mostly known for founding L’Arche, a coalition of communities throughout the world for people with developmental disabilities and the men and women who live and work with them.  To understand the philosophy behind L’Arche, Vanier describes it this way: “Look, there are two realities, two cultures. There is a culture of power and there is a culture of relationships. The men and women I live with see that it is good to be together and we don’t have to solve all the problems of the world when we are together. They teach me to lighten up.”

Indeed, the point of L’Arche is to be taught by those who value relationship over power. Power is deemed of greater value in the world and we often spend too much time adoring it and those who have it.  The community of L’Arche is a witness to a different way of being, a gospel way of being.

If we believe that our role as Christians in the world is to fix everything, we can become tempted to power over relationship.  Jesus did not come in power, but in weakness.  And he came to be in relationship with us, which is the witness we offer to the world.