I just came home this October Sunday morning from packed church at St. Maurice parish in Ottawa. It was a children’s mass with almost every seat taken with young families and delightful sounds of young children. The music was upbeat, everyone was singing and the kids were swaying to the beat.
I left there feeling welcomed, inspired and loved. After mass everyone gathered downstairs for coffee and conversation while 40 children ran around outside chasing each other and laughing as they happily played tag. I was struck by the love, acceptance and joy within this church community of young families.
Recent years have highlighted the increasing urgency of climate change, as well as the abundance of migrants fleeing war, oppression or starvation in their homelands. Early 2020 brought the fear and disruption of the pandemic and the resulting social and economic upheaval which exposed the long-standing systemic issues of racism and injustice. Such a stark contrast to what I experienced at St. Maurice’s mass this morning.
Matthew Kelly talks about questions and how he loves them. He says it’s important to chew on questions because they can take us to a deeper place in our minds, and souls and gets us thinking about ourselves, God and other people in the world in differnet ways.
Questions can take us into places in our hearts, mind and souls that we don’t even know about. If we put the questions out there, especially in prayer, the Holy Spirit will take our questions and lead us to a deep place and help us discover deeply personal answers to our deeply personal questions.
Here are two important questions that tied the saints together says Kelly.
Question #1. Are you satisfied with the direction the world is moving in?
A. No. Q. What are you going to do about it? Q. Will you (and I) stay in our passive spectator selves, or move into our active selves?
Question #2. Are you satisfied with your life?
Q. If you are not satisfied with your life, what are you doing with your dis-satisfaction? Truth is, we may all be dis-satisfied at some point of our lives with some part of our life and so, what is God saying to you through your dis-satisfaction? If you are not satisfied with your life, what are you going to do about it? What is God inviting you to do? How is God inviting you to colaborate?
Because, out of these 2 questions, the lives of the saints exploded with these 2 questions. The saints were dis-satisfied with the world and with their own lives and they came to God and started this powerful collabortion and out they went.
Now they live on in history because of this collaboration with God. But where did it start? It started with their dis-satisfaction, with their own lives and their dis-satisfaction with the way the world was moving in.
If you don’t feel like praying, pray anyway. If you don’t feel like reaching out to a friend, do it anyway. If you feel like giving up, keep going. Don’t base your spiritual life on feelings. Feelings are fleeting. They come and go. Base your spiritual life upon your integrity, morals and values that God has bestowed upon your heart and on your conscience. God can work through you in amazing ways, even if you don’t feel a thing.
You see, a saint isn’t someone who led a perfect life. A saint is someone who, found the power of the Holy Spirit. With the help of the Spirit, you can burn through all your fears and be free.
There are no simple answers to the complex problems facing families and our world today. But there are ways we can begin: with a humble heart, a forgiving spirit, compassion, generosity and above all, hope.
As I think about the special Sunday mass I experienced this morning, filled with enthusiasm, joy, attentiveness in the readings, the gospel and the homily, I could feel the Lord moving there in a community filled with love, support and hope. So are you dis-satisfied? That might not be a bad thing…