A respected friend sent me a YouTube link that I almost did not watch. I am so glad I did. I now see why in less than 10 days it captured over 150,000 viewers.
A young Franciscan friar, Casey Cole, spoke of his overwhelming stress and fatigue... And the wise advice he got.
I offer the following excerpts as an encouragement to all who are stressed to see the video.
“I’m giving up”
In searing honesty, he spoke of why he wants to give up.
I can do everything I can, work as hard as humanly possible, and nothing will seem to change.
My actions do nothing to fix the problem. And that’s the crux of it right there.
Overwork is an issue, sure, but I can work really, really, hard if I think I’m making a difference.
He consulted a wise person. The wise person helped him explore the gospel implications of “giving up”.
What a wise man reminded him
… when the facade of my own self-sufficiency comes crashing down and I become fully away of my futility and weakness, that I can ask for help and let God be God.
It is only in that moment that I know more than anything in the world that I need a savior… and I am not him.
Give up thinking that every problem in this world is ours to solve.
Give up thinking that we can change people who don’t want to be changed.
Give up thinking that we are the savior that the world needs.
No, we already have a savior, thank you very much, and he’s on his way.
When he returns, he will not expect us to have fixed the whole world, converted every soul, and left things in perfect order.
When he returns, he won’t be looking for a world already perfected, he’ll be looking for people with faith and perseverance, people who have done what is theirs to do, people desperate for his arrival because they know their place and limitations
The importance of the long view
It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.
He asks, “Who do we think we are?”
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the Church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
He says this is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.
Many will hear echoes of the well-known Serenity Prayer.
Let me add a few others echoes.
- Pope Francis and the United States Bishops
- Charles Peguy, a French poet
- And even Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount.
Which approach is yours
- Giving up and walking away?
- Giving up thinking we can do it on our own?
Click below to listen to an audio version of this Vincentian Mindwalk
Jesus is the savior. I hope I learn to trust.
i’VE ALWAYS LOVED THAT MESSAGE AND USED IT IN MY CHRISTMAS GREETING. Thanks for sharing.
But I want to share the writer of it:
Cardinal John F. Dearden, Archbishop of Detroit, Ordained in 1932
He was a dear friend of my dear friend, Bishop Ken Untener, So in the ’80’s, when I was pastoring the Cathedral of St. Mary’s in Saginaw, he came with his friend, Bishop Ken, to dinner at St. Mary’s. Ken later laughed at me because i was so informal as to say, “John, Dear, More Coffee? 🙂
RE: No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
I’d like to cite St. John of the Cross (from today’s Office of Reading). I find his take to be positive, encouraging and challenging:
“Though holy doctors have uncovered many mysteries and wonders, and devout souls have understood them in this earthly condition of ours, yet the greater part still remains to be unfolded by them, and even to be understood by them.
“We must then dig deeply in Christ. He is like a rich mine with many pockets containing treasures: however deep we dig we will never find their end or their limit. Indeed, in every pocket new seams of fresh riches are discovered on all sides.”