Perhaps you have heard me talk about a book that I am writing. I don’t pretend to be nearly as prolific as either one of my predecessors in the book publishing adventure, but I have a desire to put some of my thoughts together in book form for the first time.
The basic topic and focus of my writing is work. The prevalence of the word and the concept of work in our culture continue to amaze me. Just stop and think for a minute of the variety of ways that you use the word – feel about – and, depend on – Work.
However, my writing is based on a conviction that I have had for quite some time and, simply put, is OUR WORK CONTINUES GOD’S WORK. My fascination with why people do the work they do shapes my life and my ministry as a priest in a significant way. I believe that we can do so much of God’s work in our world, every day, in many varied ways, with so many different attitudes, motivations, pressures and needs.
A secondary conviction that I have is that we in church circles use words such as Call, Vocation, Discernment and Formation in a manner that lacks connection in most people’s lives. In other words, most people don’t feel or think that they are called by God, have a vocation for, discern their direction and are formed in very holy and healthy ways by so many experiences in their lives and, thus, in their work. So the highly institutionalized nature of our church up until 1965 gave the message that only some are called, have a vocation, discern that vocation and are formed largely by church experiences.
I believe that NOTHING could be farther from the truth, so my book attempts to de-religious-ize (my made up word, similar to de-institutionalize) those concepts and help ALL people see that they are continuing God’s work with theirs in ways that they don’t realize or have underestimated.
I am mentioning this in the context of this weekend’s Gospel parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30). That parable generates the core image used throughout the book, helping to view our work differently. Jesus tells the parable to his disciples, challenging them as he did the religious leaders in previous parables told in the past six weekends’ passages, challenging both groups to envision the Kingdom of God.
You will notice that the master (God) gives his servants (Us) varied levels of talent, money or blessings. Two servants double what was given them and this results in two things: increasing God’s joy, and greater responsibility for them. In short they make more of what was given them and that is the path that I take in the book as motivation for all of us to make more of what the same generous God has given us.
The third servant is crippled by fear and buries what he was given. Fear can paralyze us sometimes and affects our work negatively resulting in making less or nothing at all.
So, what does it mean to ‘make more’ of your talent? I hope my book will give just some background and some detail. I structure the chapters by giving some background to work, begin to define it, consider how it has formed us, how we get greater clarity regarding our talent, urge us to work like, with and for God, as well as to see that we are somehow all engaged by meaningful work. It considers how spiritual, church, scriptural and popular cultural concepts aid us in learning about work and how other concepts such as passion, purpose and service tie into our work. It concludes by investigating work in relationships and athletics and finally transitions in work, including what used to be called retirement, but now means, more often than not, the next step, phase or chapter. The chapters will fall under three major sections: Acknowledging, Identifying and Sharing our talent to make more of them and, thus, bring God some joy. Each chapter contains a direct connection between work & the Eucharist.
Please know that our Christmas Mass schedule will be available soon and PLEASE, PLEASE see that it is shaped by your feedback from the recent survey that we sent out. MOST IMPORTANTLTY, please note that you must REGISTER for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Masses so that we can safely serve and pray with all who wish to attend.
As always, we need volunteer ushers and greeters to be as welcoming as possible.