Like many of you, I rely heavily on email to communicate and most days I’m forced to sift through a mound of junk emails before I can get to the “good stuff”.  I typically ignore these messages, but the title of today’s unsolicited note did spark my interest: “Mary, how can your church serve those in need?”

In a nutshell, the message said that data collected over 45 years shows the dramatic decrease in the number of people spiritually connected with a church AND the dramatic increase of sadness, depression, isolation, divorce and substance abuse during this period of time.  The sender suggests their agency can enable Our Lady of Lourdes to “grow, thrive, and make a meaningful difference in the lives of individuals in our community” through the use of their “products, consulting and support” all for some exorbitant price.

I deleted it, of course, but it did get me to thinking.

I could speak passionately for days about the benefits of being spiritually connected with Our Lady of Lourdes.  I could write a book about the ways our community has lifted up the broken, the grief stricken, the marginalized, the hungry and the lost.  If you are reading this note, you are spiritually connected to our church, and your life is a witness to that connection which speaks louder than any outside “agency” which promises they can speak for us.

So back to the question in the tagline.  “How can your church serve those is need?”

Wherever this note finds you, I challenge you to do your own thinking about what it means to be spiritually connected to our church.  To see and value the gifts this connection has given you and then share it with those who could use a hand up.  This is, I believe, how the church serves those in need.  To explore our own gratitude, recognize the value in those among us, and start spreading the Good News of the Gospel.  That is the meaning of discipleship, and that is how we grow the Church. 

Growing up, my mom had a famous line my sisters and I dreaded with every bone in our body:  “Girls, put your working clothes on”.  Those six words came with the promise of a full day of hard work.  I suspect turning 45 years of lost spiritual connection to the Church around is going to be hard work, but I can think of no greater profit than putting my working clothes on for God.  Join me!

With Love,