After I volunteered to write this week’s column, I came to the realization that I was at a loss about a subject. Looking for inspiration, I googled the word, “November,” and discovered that not surprisingly, it is National Gratitude Month. Then last Sunday, Brother Ray’s sermon in which he mentioned listening to Richard Rohr tapes jogged my memory about a passage I had read from Rohr’s book, Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality.
Rohr writes: “Think of the many, many stories about God choosing people. There are Moses, Abraham, and Sarah; there are David, Jeremiah, Gideon, Samuel, Jonah, and Isaiah. There is Israel itself. Much later there are Peter and Paul, and, most especially, Mary.
God is always choosing people. First impressions aside, God is not primarily choosing them for a role or a task, although it might appear that way. God is really choosing them to be God’s self in this world, each in a unique situation. If they allow themselves to experience being chosen, being a beloved, being somehow God’s presence in the world, they invariably communicate that same chosenness to others. And thus the Mystery passes on from age to age. Yes, we do have roles and tasks in this world, but finally they are all the same—to uniquely be divine love in a way that no one else can or will.”
So, these two ideas of gratitude and chosenness led me to think about a couple of things that I would like to share with you. Now that I am spending much more time in the Parish House, I am keenly aware that not a day goes by that we do not receive one or more requests from people in our parish neighborhood who need our help. They may need assistance with utilities or some other special circumstance. Whatever their need, I am grateful that they feel they can turn to us and that we can help. I am particularly grateful to Trudy Shiemke who is the unsung heroine who administers the funding for this program and meets with all who need help. She is a special example of the many unselfish people in this parish who have been chosen to be God’s presence in the world.
I am also mindful that the Archdiocese of Detroit is convening Synod 16 on the weekend of November 18 to 20. The goals of the Synod are to focus on evangelization and to change the culture of the Archdiocese so that we can be that divine love that Rohr speaks of. The Archdiocese has wisely chosen Brother Ray and Hermenia Adams as our representatives to the Synod. I have no doubt that giving up their weekends and sitting through three days of meetings is a sacri1fice for them, so I am grateful that they are willing to do this and hopeful that they are encouraged by our prayers for them.
Frances Pelham Carnaghi, Pastoral Minister