by Ken Rolheiser
Losing touch with the mother ship

A man spoke frantically on the phone: “My wife is having a baby and the contractions are only two minutes apart!”
“Is this her first child?” the doctor asked.
“No,” the man shouted. “This is her husband!”

You have heard the expression: Not the sharpest tool in the shed. Sometimes we are slow in perception when it comes to using the wonderful tools God has given us. We do not realize that we have “every spiritual blessing in the heavens” at our disposal.

The Word Among us shares the story of a boy who was given a tool box for his thirteenth birthday. “Wow! Thanks dad.” And he put it into the basement. After he was married and moved into a used home, he discovered the tap needed fixing, the door squeaked, and a number of things popped up on the to-do list.

But he had never opened the tool box. The tools were a little rusty by now, and the young man had no clue how to use them.

“Blessed be God the Father... who has blessed us with all the spiritual blessings of heaven in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). Paul goes on to list other gifts: our freedom from sin, and the riches of His grace.

We are sons and daughters of the Carpenter from Galilee who has left us many tools for our use. We have the Sacraments, the Gifts of the Holy Spirit and the Fruits of the Spirit. Now what are those again?

Oh, yeah: Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge (didn’t know I had that), Piety, and Fear of the Lord.

But there are fruits of the Spirit as well: Charity, Joy, Peace, Patience, Benignity (kindness), Goodness, Long-suffering (perseverance), Mildness, Faith, Modesty, Continency (self control), and Chastity.

These are in the fully equipped tool chest of the Christian. Hopefully we do not store that chest in the basement and let it rust. And we need to practise with and use these tools to keep us sharp and alert. We can fix broken hearts, mend fences with our neighbours, and build bridges.

We can teach others how to use these tools; especially our children and our fellow workers who may not be as skilled. We may make mistakes and even get hurt at times, but forgiveness and healing are available.

If we use these tools of the Christian then no one will use unflattering idioms to describe us - like “not the sharpest tool in the shed”, or “lost touch with the mother ship”, or “not singing from the same hymn sheet”.

(432 words)