As I sit here writing this note in the parish office, it’s Monday and the rain is pouring down. Today is the second day of Autumn, and I wonder if we’ve seen the last of our hot and sunny summer.  I’ll miss the blooms on my rose bushes, but also welcome the permission the rain brings to relax.

This past weekend I had the privilege of going away on retreat along with other employees of the Archdiocese.  The days leading up to the retreat were busy, so by the time I landed in my Amtrak seat, I was good and ready for the time away.  Our days were spent in Mass, prayer, reflection and formation, and I came home with 18 pages of notes.  (Yes, I actually counted)

Of these 18 pages, I want to share only five words:

“God works through ordinary people”.

These were the exact five words that I needed to hear, and perhaps you need to hear them too. 

President Roosevelt is quoted as saying “Comparison is the thief of joy” and he was right then, and he’d be right now.  If we compare ourselves to the most talented, the most successful, or the most holy, we often feel ordinary.   In that light, ordinary doesn’t look so good.  During the retreat, sitting alongside my highly gifted and knowledgeable colleagues, I wondered – in comparison to them – if I had what it takes. 

God answered me in my doubt, through the following five words spoken by Deacon Eric Paige in his Sunday homily: “God works through ordinary people”.

Write those words on your heart and see how you are set free.  Looking through this lens, the need for striving and perfection fades away.  We don’t have to deliver the perfect words in order to speak.  We don’t have to know the Bible inside and out to open it up and read. We don’t have to be anyone other than our ordinary selves to do God’s work and build up His people.  Start where you are.  You are enough, and He can and does work through you.

With those five words in mind, I invite us all to look through the lens in a different way.  We must also give others permission to be ordinary.  We may have an expectation that others should be “more holy” if they stand for God.  We may think they should be “more holy” if they are asking us to believe that God is working through them.  He can….and He is.

As we go about putting one ordinary foot in front of the other in our ministries, may we hold tight to this reminder that God so generously works through us in our ordinariness and is ever leading us to greater holiness. 

On Sunday, you’ll find me in my normal spot at the 9 a.m. Mass praying for all of us as we go about our journey together.

With Love,