by Ken Rolheiser
Keeping the Faith through uncertainty

To capture a monkey a hunter cuts a small hole into a gourd. He then puts nuts or sweets inside the gourd. Because the monkey will not let go of its prize, it becomes trapped. 

It’s easy for us to see how foolish it is to keep holding onto something that really isn’t worth much. Sometimes we are blinded by our attachment to the treat, worthless as it may be. We hold on to things that that do not serve us well.

We have the ability to choose our treasures in life. We need to examine our lives to see if we are being trapped by the things we treasure. By letting go of these, we can be truly free.

“All that your ancestors had to go through for you to be here, and you doubt yourself? How dare you? You come from a legacy of survival that is never to be questioned” (from “Peace Week”

When I consider how my ancestors left Germany to farm in Russia for one hundred and forty-eight years, and safeguarded the gift of faith and brought it to Saskatchewan in the early 1900’s, I recognize an unquestionable legacy. It is as inherent in me as my language. 

I first spoke in German, and I first prayed in German. I learned to pray in Latin in the Masses of my childhood. My theological studies were in English, but my faith roots are multilingual. I heard the Gospel proclaimed in German and English in the church of my childhood. I am able to cry out to the Lord in German, in Latin and in English. My faith stories make this possible. 

John Mitchell writes about Father James Mallon’s Faith: Discipleship in Uncertain Times – every page offers wisdom and tools to help each of us out in faith and thriving as disciples of Jesus. Father Mallon says, “The first person who needed to hear and receive the message was me.”

It is true! In my twenty-five years of writing ministry, I have shared what I received in the first place, in that sacred space where we meet God in our daily lives. I try to share with my readers God’s loving invitation and our Holy Spirit infused response to the many ways God touches our lives.

Father Mallon reflects further on our discipleship: “We stop being generous and gracious because we forget what we have received. We remember only what we have lost or don’t have.”

In Acts 3:1-6 Peter says, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Peter and John did not have money or goods to offer. They gave healing and the Spirit of Jesus. We too can give what we have received.

We are the Body of Christ. God has joined himself to us through Jesus in an eternal covenant. Like Christ we are wheat and wine, broken and crushed into the body and blood of Christ. 

Before his death St Andre of Quebec cried out, “I am suffering so much, my God! My God!” And then in a very weak voice: “Here is the grain,” as if referring to the Gospel: “Unless the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone. But if it dies, it brings forth much fruit” (John 12:4).

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