October 30, 2012

MISSION MATTERS: It's All in How You Look at It

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God's Perspective vs. Our Own*

It helps now and then, to step back and take the long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.

No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection, no pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the church's mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about:
We plant seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects far beyond our capability.

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.


Ignatius, throughout his Spiritual Exercises, letters and exhortations, talks about us and God, and calls us to the perspective and position we understand ourselves in relation to God and the perspective God sees in relation to us. Ignatius talks about our perspective and freedom — the freedom we seek, even the freedom we give others — our place in the greater scheme of things and how we understand chronological history and salvation history, from a time we never had, to a time we will never see, from our present time.

We're all part of a much larger story, a much larger scheme of things, a broader perspective. Our real task is to hear God in our lives today and to have faith that tomorrow is in His hands ... Much of it is simply allowing God to be God ... God can probably handle it.

So how do you look at it?

Where do you seek God ... in all things and people?
Where do you find God ... in all things and people?
How do you know it when you find God?

A. M. D. G.

- P. Stark, S.J.
- D. Highberger, S.J.

* This prayer/reflection, often referred to as the "Romero Prayer" honors Bishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador, who served the people of El Salvador and was assassinated in 1980 while offering Mass in San Salvador. It actually is a prayer/reflection written for John Cardinal Dearden, from a homily in November of 1979, by Bishop Ken Untener.

Regardless of the author, the power of the prayer remains.

Higher purpose. Greater good.
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