Tonight a few other seminarians and I went to Newburgh, IN to St. John the Baptist Catholic Parish, for two reasons.
First, we had heard the Matthew Kelly was going to be giving a talk and wanted to hear it. Second, we wanted to get a feel for the parish at one of its big events. You see, we have been assigned this parish for our ministry days (Wednesdays and Sundays here and there). We aren’t scheduled to begin until next week, but we wanted to observe and see what we could see.
The talk was great. I realized that I should have brought a pen and something to write on, so as to capture all the good points made. But here are those my memory has retained:
- How do we see the world? The way we see the world determines how we live our lives. We get caught up in our own little world. We must step back and get some perspective.
- The most important things in the world need to be our priorities, but they rarely are because they aren’t as urgent as bills, work, etc.
- Relationships of all kinds, especially with God, thrive when they are given a lot of “pointless time”. When people shoot the breeze. This is why teens are so quick to fall in love! This has implications in my prayer life; too often I go to prayer with some kind of agenda of things I want to pray about and for. Tonight I will just go and sit in the chapel for much of my holy hour.
- Happiness and Pleasure: Happiness lasts. Pleasure is passing. A good dinner is pleasurable; good while it’s in the mouth but later, we’re uncomfortably full!
- Four aspects of human person: Physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. We know what we need to do in the areas, but don’t. Why? Because we’re too busy. We fail to reconnect with God regularly…because we’re too busy. We know what will make us happy, but we’re too busy. And why do we do the things that make us busy? Because we’re trying to be happy.
- God wants us to be happy. We somehow think that God wants us to do the one thing we don’t want to do. The Church has a reputation as something that tries to force things, control people, manipulate, etc. But I’ve never had an expierence like that in the Church! God lets us do anything anyway any time anyway and anywhere and however many times we want.
- We must be the best version of ourselves. The Church can’t get as healthy and good as it can be unless each of us is the best version of ourselves. It’s all for the glory of God and the Church!
- And so it is that our friends, family, teachers, priests, etc. are good when they help us to become the best version of ourselves. The best teachers, best priests, best friends, do this. The Latin word educo means “lead out,” and so these type of people bring out of us the best we can be! And we must do it for others.
- Yet too many have stopped dreaming. Have stopped wanting to grow. He had a clever phrase for the people who stay but never grow…maybe it will come to me.
Part II comes tomorrow…I hope to be able to make it. Lots of homework though. We shall see.
Aside from the actual talk, it was a very nice place. People are good, kind. Matthew made a good point: every weekend, someone walks into the parish that has never been there before. Are they treated well? It may make the difference of that person ever coming back. Is someone there to open the door for the man with a cane? If someone isn’t greeted warmly, are they treated with the love of Christ? I’m not saying we need to shake hands at the beginning and “get to know each other” before Mass. HECK NO!!! But there should be some kind of compassion going on. People were just the right amount of compassion tonight.
And finally, I say my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Hershberger, there! She’s now a member of the parish. It was really nice to see her again and catch up a bit…more will come, I’m sure. Sixth grade was one of my favorite years, many thanks to her!!!