Inner-city Contemplation and Action8:22 AM
There are a few phrases that I find really heartening to describe our work. One begins an article: “It is a beautiful thing to see a good pastor at work.” Chew on it, and the phrase bears tremendous respect for the art of being pastor. Another phrase that helps me comes from a priest describing a ministry resembling my own: “One must be a contemplative to work in the inner-city.”
Some days, I am really tired. I feel like I have seen about all the garbage that the world can dish out. It can seem so ugly. So rotten. Burying folks at too young an age. Domestic violence. Addictions. Bills people have to pay. I give someone $20 bucks, only to find out later from Fr. Michael Mathews, C.S.C. that the same person tried a different story on him. I hardly want to admit to him that the guy got money from me. Sometimes, I am short with people. Sometimes my temper gets the better of me. Sometimes, I lack the patience necessary for it all.
There is also the old phrase: if it is worth doing, it is worth doing well. I think that is not quite right. We never do well those most important things in life-- like reading Shakespeare and loving one another, but they are worth doing anyhow. Because, as Hemingway wrote: "The world is a fine place and worth fighting for."
It was such a fine place that the Father sent his Son. And the Congregation sends us. Not to condemn the world, but that it might be saved by Him who has loved us.