This article by freelance writer Christina Capecchi got my attention a few weeks ago. The lessons Cappechi teaches are universal, but they apply in particular to ministry in the Church. They are about honest questions, honest answers.
Being a parish employee is not easy. Over time, it can feel like the parishioners are “customers” and the employees are the ones serving those customers. Asking honest questions of those whom we serve and pausing to receive honest answers can be a solution to this problem.
So, if you have just a moment, think back over the last week. How many parishioners have you interacted with? How many times have you asked, “How are you?” How many times have you paused in order to receive an honest answer? It’s a difficult question to ask because no matter how good we are at ministry, no doubt what will be revealed to us is this – we have, at least once, in the last week, forgotten to see someone as a child of God. We sometimes choose politeness over sincerity and connection. And let’s be honest, our parishioners could probably get pleasantries elsewhere with a lot less fuss. (That’s what national fast-food chains are for, right?)
So, amidst all the chaos of parish life, find a way to re-commit yourself to service. Maybe you can set a daily alarm on your phone to gather your thoughts, reach out to God in prayer, and ask for His help with this. It can be as simple as saying, “Lord, let me treat each person I serve today with the dignity that he or she deserves. Let me ask honest questions and listen for honest answers. Amen.”