Researching God’s DNA in us

No, DNA does not stand for National Dyslexics Association. 
And as DNA levity goes – Do these genes make me look fat?

Father Brendan McGuire shares the story of a parishioner who did a DNA search and discovered she was 52% Irish. Though she was second generation born in America, she was so delighted she started cultivating an Irish accent. She started to lisp certain syllables. 

If someone were to test our spiritual DNA, what would they find? In my case, some strong Christian roots going back to Russia and way back to Germany before 1764. With the same excitement as the Irish lady I should imitate the devout spiritual commitment I find there.

As a child I remember imitating Grandfather Rolheiser and walking with my hands behind my back. I sometimes found myself in this meditative posture as I was supervising dances in the High School Gym. It reminds me of the Stooges cartoon where one says, “Follow me and walk this way.”

Our Divine lingo should become more noticeable as we grow spiritually. I have a good friend whose regular conversation is sprinkled with references to Jesus and her deep faith. She may catch herself saying something uncharitable and exclaim, “Sorry, Jesus, that one slipped out.”

McGuire shares another related thought. On a visit to Ireland, as he was chatting with friends one of them remarked, “Oh, you’re such a McGuire!” “And what does that mean?” McGuire asked. “Oh, you know you’re always…”

Now wouldn’t it be wonderful if someone said to us, “Oh, you’re such a Christian!” And what are the traits of a Christian? St Paul to the Colossians 3:12-17 gives us a good summary.

“Brothers and sisters:
Put on, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another… And over all these put on love... And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful…

“And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Well that gives us a thorough prescription on how to be a Christian. And when I think back on the lives of the saints before me, my parents and grandparents, I can see the pattern. And don’t forget the uncles and aunts, and the Godparents. 

Our Divine family tree has its roots on earth, but the branches reach into heaven. “Follow me and walk this way,” I can hear my Grandfather say. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sings “Homeward Bound” by Althouse Jay and Thompson Marta K.

As my journey nears its end
And the path I'll be retracing
When I'm homeward bound again
Bind me not to the pasture
Chain me not to the plow
Set me free to find my calling
And I'll return to you somehow

We will follow our DNA back to its source in God.
In the quiet misty morning
When the moon has gone to bed,
When the sparrows stop their singing
I'll be homeward bound again.

(528 words)

By Ken Rolheiser