Before this parish, in recent months, the Lord has placed several marvelous opportunities. These opportunities take various forms: persons, donations, talents, etc. The question that ought to consume us is whether, and how, we might take advantage of these opportunities.
Putting before us opportunities is oftentimes how Our Lord works with us. He does not foist Himself upon us or lead us by the nose. And rarely, if ever, does He answer our most common prayer; that is, to show us which path we are to take (considering, of course, that our options are all morally upright).
That can be frustrating, especially if we are expecting or demanding
some “clear word.” As if God is our Magic 8 Ball who reveals our fortune and
future, especially when things have aligned to present us with intriguing or
important decisions. That understanding of God reduces both Him and us: Him to
a shaman we consult only we are at loggerheads, and us to people who are
ultimately governed by fate.
Yet, as we know, Our Lord God desires to be more than an impersonal
consultant. And He has designed us with free will; in fact, such free will that
He even permits us to ignore Him, revolt against Him, and disown Him. For without
this free will, we could not truly and freely love Him.
However, this does not mean that Our Lord doesn’t suggest to us
possibilities. In fact, He often opens doors or pathways, points out viable
alternatives, and may even give hardly preceptive nudges. Yet whenever Our Lord
presents us with opportunities, He then honors our free will by letting us
choose our own path—even if that path is not what He would think is the best.
Even this thought raises another bothersome question: Why does Our Lord present
opportunities? And why, when He does, doesn’t He make the choices plain.
Well, sometimes the choices are plain; particularly when they involve a
moral good or evil. But most often, Our Lord presents us with opportunities to
give us the chance to stretch our wings of faith. If I may be so colloquial, it’s
as if Our Lord is saying, “Here. Let’s see what you’ll do with this!”
Our Lord presents us with opportunities to give us the chance to stretch our wings of faith.
Mind you, it’s not a test. The Lord rarely treats us like Abraham and Job, seeing how far we’ll go for Him or whether we’re as strong as He thinks. Rather, most often, the opportunities Our Lord presents are just that: opportunities. Chances to explore certain avenues; openings to expand our vision; attempts to help us see things from another angle.
That is how I see the opportunities that the Lord has recently set before
us as a parish: chances, openings, attempts, and challenges to think about who we
are and how we might proceed differently, perhaps even more remarkably, as a
Perhaps we can see these opportunities—and every opportunity the Lord
gives us—as a means of remembering that
[L]ove never rests. Love never says,
“We’re there.” Love is a long-term project. An undying process. A constant
moving forward. Not just to improve, but more importantly, to deepen, to
mature, and to grow.
By the prayers of St Michael, and by your prayers, may Our Lord help us
see His love in everyone and everything.
Fr John W Fenton