Skip to main content

I'm a failure

I had an interesting chat with a friend today (thanks, Mike). He said a young woman was going to be doing some youth ministry work and wanted some insight into that particular field of endeavor. His advice was terrific, I thought: "Be prepared to have your heart broken. Be prepared to fail...a lot."


I've been working in one form of ministry and/or religious education for my entire adult life. I am no stranger to the fact that most people do not share my enthusiasm for the Gospel, life in Christ and my truly geekazoid love of learning about world religions and sacred places. That does not dull the pain of realizing that classroom after classroom of students can't get over the fact that I go to Mass every Sunday. "Every Sunday????!!!" "Yeah...every Sunday."

Someone told me, not too long ago, that is was my job as a religion teacher to make sure that every kid that I taught became a practicing Catholic. Sorry; that is way too big a job for me. It was too big of a job for Jesus: many of His followers deserted him. (Read John 6.) I know that I'm just planting seeds, and I might, maybe, possibly have some influence on a kid's faith.

I told my friend that this idea of failure was why it was so important to read the lives of the saints. They were often quite glorious failures. Spectacular failures. I'm reading about St. Damien of Molokai. He couldn't do a damn thing right, according to many of his peers and superiors. He certainly couldn't deal with the lepers with any degree of success: he had no money, no medical supplies....heck, he often didn't even have enough food. All he could do was his best. All he could do was take care of the most obvious needs, and pray that God would make up for what he, a poor human, lacked.

Quite clearly, I am no saint. Therefore, I am going to fail. A lot. And all I can do is pray to God for what I lack. Thankfully, He is up to that task.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Trying to "end run" God

If you're a football fan, you know what an end run is. From Merriam-Webster:
a football play in which the ballcarrier attempts to run wide around the end of the line We try to "end run" God a lot. I do. I figure I know better. I've got this - no need to worry the Big Guy about such a trivial thing.

Of course, it never works.

Like the puppy above, when we try and evade the tough obstacle (even though we KNOW we will eventually have to do it), we end up - well, off in the bushes.

But oh! How I wished my way worked. I'd love to take a flying leap and land smoothly and gracefully. People would be in awe, as if watching Simone Biles nail a balance beam routine that no one else would even attempt. I would shyly look down and blush - just lightly - and acknowledge (But humbly! Oh so humbly!) my achievement.

But no: I am the one pulling myself out of the bushes, scratches all over my legs and twigs in my hair. I'd hear that gentle but loving voice of God saying, &quo…

Crossing Guard

I saw you
today
as you guided
your little man across that busy street.

You were wearing some
big man boots
and
watching cars and lights.

Your little man had on
black sneakers and
a Mickey Mouse hat
that bounced
as he walked.

He wasn't watching nothing but
your big man boots
and
the white stripes of the crosswalk.

Just before
he got to the sidewalk again,
his step bounced a bit
- he hopped over
a spot where the asphalt broke.

You turned to look,
holding out a hand to
your little man.
Not rushed or angry,
just making sure
he got up
on that sidewalk.

Then you walked on,
in your big man boots,
face into a cold Michigan wind,
with the little man behind,
his hat bouncing.

Be Transfigured

From today's readings: 

Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother, John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the and his clothes became white as light.

...we possess the prophetic message that is altogether reliable. You will do well to be attentive to it as to a lamp shining in a dark place until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

Today we celebrate the Transfiguration. For whatever reason, Jesus brought three of His disciples to Mount Tabor to witness this miracle. They weren't sure what they were seeing, but they knew enough to throw themselves to the ground in the presence of Almighty God. St. Peter (who never did anything halfway) excitedly declares that he will erect tents on the mountain as a way of memorializing the event. But Jesus tells him and the others that they are not to tell people what they witnessed - at least not yet.

In the second reading, the requirement to be quiet has bee…