This weekend marks my last reflection in the St. Michael bulletin, The Defender. It has truly been an honor to share in such a personal way with my parish! I’ll continue to write my weekly reflections on this site, posted every Sunday!
The first spiritual reflection I ever wrote was about the true meaning of Easter. It was for a writing contest and we could choose any topic. I don’t remember why I picked Easter, but I do remember that I did so without any hesitation or second guessing. It was perhaps the purest thing I have ever written, in part because I was six years old. God called, I said yes.
I didn’t do much spiritual writing after that, aside from two “religious” articles I wrote when I was an opinion columnist for my college newspaper, and a few witness talks that I gave at retreats. There wasn’t much opportunity or platform for spiritual essays, save a few assignments for my Philosophy 101, Modern Catholicism, and Bible As Literature classes. That and Mrs. Strapec’s second grade religious education class at Our Lady of Lourdes School are about the extent of my theological training. So 15 years ago when I heard the call to write reflections on the Sunday readings, my response was not so pure and immediate. I didn’t just hesitate – I flat out ignored it.
St. Paul, ever my inspiration, says in today’s Epistle, “If I preach the gospel, this is no reason for me to boast, for an obligation has been imposed on me, and woe to me if I do not preach it!” Woe to me, indeed. I often wonder what my life would have been like if I’d said yes without question and just wrote, if only for an imaginary audience reading my journal. I do know that between then and now, I got emotionally and spiritually sick, and I also experienced emotional and spiritual healing. Like Job, I was tested to my limit, which thank God was not far. And like Simon Peter’s mother-in-law, after I experienced God’s healing power I got up and served those around me the best way I knew how, willingly and without hesitation.
When I worked with the St. Michael staff to redesign the bulletin three years ago, I envisioned the front page as a place to showcase all the wonderful ministries in which our parish engages. I never expected to preach the gospel as I see it, and I certainly never expected it to last this long. What a humbling honor it has been. Like Paul, I have done so willingly, most of the time. Not so willingly some weeks. Being that open and vulnerable and intimate to thousands of people, showing my weakness so that I might “win over the weak” has been downright scary at times. My “recompense” as Paul puts it is that this temporary stewardship of mine has brought me further healing, which looks a lot like honesty, accountability, transparency and integrity. This is a gift that I get to keep only if I give it away. “All this I do for the sake of the gospel, so that I too may have a share in it.”
It is now time for me to set this blessed stewardship aside. I can’t put into words my gratitude to the ordained leaders and parishioners of this community for the gift you have granted me in allowing me to serve. It has been literally a dream come true. I will continue to serve in a less visible role as the bulletin editor, and I ask for your prayers as I continue writing and pursue other dreams.
I have also asked Fr. Dan if I could put a plug in for my daily blog website, http://www.holeyheart.com. You can sign up and get emails whenever I add a new article, which I hope to continue on at least a weekly basis, or until God calls me elsewhere and I respond with the willingness of my inspiration, St. Paul.