To God, the Best, the Greatest

Dear friends in Christ:

What a beehive of activity! This past Monday morning when many of us were yet to have our first cup of coffee, our campus was under siege by heavy equipment, tractor trailers and craftsmen. We had cement trucks, boom lifts, fork lifts and cranes. There were carpenters, electricians, masons, bricklayers, steel workers, plumbers, welders, landscapers, painters, organ tuners and the Lord alone knows who else was on site. The kid in me was excited to see all the different pieces of equipment and the adult was fascinated by the skills and talents of the tradesmen. One of the most satisfying aspects of this wonderful project is to see how these hard working folks have applied their talents to do something that is going to give God glory for a long time to come. Over the course of the project, a number of the workers have come to me and said that they have brought their children to our church to show them what they have been working on. Our project has enabled these men and women to have pride in their work. During this project I have also taken pride that our parish has given these good people a paycheck! Directly and indirectly, we are helping folks to make an honest living for themselves and to provide for their families. This is in the best tradition of our Catholic Social teaching.

As with every project there have been delays, and surprises. From the very beginning to this very moment we have encountered challenges. As I have mentioned in previous letters, the deadlines seem to change by the hour (and no, I am not exaggerating!). My mantra to one and all is that we do our best. (D.O.M.) We want a quality job over a quick job! Why am I telling you this? Here is a hint: I am not just talking about a construction project. The Lord blesses us each and every day of our lives. He gives us a mission, a job to do. In that mission there are challenges, obstacles and surprises. Sometimes, the challenges are great and other times less so. Sometimes the obstacles are caused by the actions of others and at other times there is no one to blame but ourselves. Then there are times when the problems are nobody’s fault. It is just part of the condition and environment in which we find ourselves. The real issue is not whether there are problems or no problems. The issue is ‘how do we deal with the problems, challenges and obstacles that we face in life?’ What is our approach? Do we quit? Blame others? Make excuses? Get angry? Cut corners? Cheat? Lie? Go into denial or depression? Or do we roll up our sleeves and do the right thing even when it is difficult? Do we humbly ask the Lord for the grace to fulfill his will for us?

In his famous prayer, Suscipe, (Latin: “receive”) St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) offers a beautiful example of what our disposition should be each day:

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding and my entire will. All I have and call my own, You have given to me; to You, Lord, I return it. Everything is yours; do with it what you will. Give me only your love and your grace. That is enough for me.

It is not easy and it goes against our pride to turn everything over to God. That is why we have to practice this giving, this sacrifice and offering each day. We give God everything and pray for the grace to accept to accept his will for us. We pray for his love and his grace. We beg God for the strength and courage to rely on Him and to do what is necessary and right. We work every day with God’s grace, to make ourselves better and the world better for those around us. We ask God to help us grow in holiness. And when we have done everything that we can, we should declare in all honesty and humility that ‘we are useless servants!’ (Lk 17.10)

In Pace Christi,

Fr. Troy Gately