Friday, October 25, 2013

What sustains me?

How do I do what I do?

Some people I know praise me for what I’m doing here in Honduras. My only response is to say that this is where I feel God is calling me to be and here I find great joy.

But how do I keep going?

Sure there are headaches – spider bites, car breakdowns, people not showing up on time, indigestion and diarrhea.

Sure there are great evils I see about me – people with not enough to eat, friends whose children suffer from treatable ailments, domestic violence, corruption, inequality, and more.

It could get overwhelming – and at times it does.

But how do I continue to thrive here?

This morning I read an article from the November 4, 2013 America on Father John F. Kavanaugh, S.J., whose book Following Christ in a Consumer Society is, I believe, a book that all North American Christians should read.

The author, Jeanne Schuler, a professor at Creighton and a former student of Fr. John Kavanaugh, ends her article with a list of five ways that he laid out “to stay rooted in our humanity in everyday life.” They are what sustain me.
  1. daily prayer and meditation to fight the emptiness endemic to consumer culture
  2. the cultivation of committed relationships in which we are known and loved
  3. the delight in things that simple living makes possible
  4. the lifelong work for justice
  5. ongoing involvement with those at the margins, who show us the beauty in simply being persons 

When one of these aspects of life is lacking, I find myself floundering.

When I am graced with time for prayer – especially in the morning or with the worshipping communities of the Dulce Nombre parish, 

with friends like the Franciscan sisters in nearby Gracias, 

with the joy of joking with kids or gazing at a beautiful landscape, 

with the chance to share my concerns about injustice through my blog,

with visits to the rural villages,

then I feel more human and, therefore, more in contact with God.

All of us need to open ourselves to way to live these ways. I’ve been blessed to find it here in Honduras. Others find it in caring for a child with disabilities, in being a welcoming presence in an office, in serving others through their careers, in sweeping the streets of our cities.

When we start to do this, God can make big things happen through our small deeds.

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