Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Future Full of Hope... In Pockets Full of Miracles

Earlier this year, our Franciscan province of St. Barbara, which represents the Friars Minor (ofm) of the western United States, met for its triennial chapter (or congress). We chose as our theme, “A Future Full of Hope”, taken from Jeremiah (29,11): “I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your well-being… and a future (full of) hope.” This simple motto calling us to renewed confidence in God has continued to echo as a resounding theme in statements from our leadership, in our regional meetings, and in our gatherings at home ever since. We think about it often and pray over it as we struggle with the very real and difficult challenges that confront us in community life and ministry. Somehow that same mantra keeps ringing in my own head and heart as I have started out on a three-month sabbatical this summer in between assignments. I keep asking myself—what and where are the signs of a future full of hope in our Christian community and world these days-- when so much of our life appears to be fraught with stress, loss, and insecurity? So I’ve been on a personal treasure hunt this summer, deliberately asking to be shown signs of hope and resilience in my travels. And, on a daily basis, I believe, I have been shown wonderful things so far. Signs of tremendous faith, energy, and creativity-- not in large monumental structures or momentous gatherings, but rather more often in small, often obscure and overlooked “pockets full of miracles” that give one hope for the future. From time to time this summer, I’ll be writing about some of these places and experiences—not always in a neat and orderly fashion, I’m afraid, but as I’m able to take some time to reflect upon them a bit. I’m also trying to get back on track with this blog, which I have had to put aside for all too long now. Thank you for sharing the journey with me. And I hope that my brief observations may in some way spark your own interest, observation, and commitment. For my part, I really do believe that, in spite of and in the midst of everything, our loving God really and truly does offer us a future full of hope.—ct

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