A Parish Vision of Hope and Ministry – Week 7

by Fr. Joe
10/20/13

A Vision of Hope

“Pray in the everyday. Everything depends on how we bear the everyday. It can make us humdrum. However, it can also make us free from ourselves as nothing else can if we accomplish this freedom and selflessness, then this love, which arises by itself, would soar through all things, directly to the heart of things, would soar out into the infinite expanses of God in longing and holy desire and also take along all the less things of the everyday as a song of praise of the divine splendor.”
Theologian Karl Rahner S.J., The Need and Blessing of Prayer.

Our parish continues casting a vision of Hope and ministry through Scripture, Church teaching and cultural images during the next weeks. Our goal is fuller participation in God’s Sacred Mission through prayer worship and ministry.

Superheroes for Christ

The popular cultural image of a Superhero is being used to focus attention on our role in God’s mission.

  • Superhero – an individual entrusted with a heroic mission and granted superpowers to carry out their noble work.
  • In Baptism we are entrusted with and empowered for Christ’s own heroic mission.
  • We are Superheroes for Christ sharing in a heavenly mission through ministry on earth.
Secular Symbol/Sacred Meaning

The most recognizable Superhero symbol is the S S is also the first letter of the Latin word SPES – which means HOPE. Using our parish colors of green and gold we have converted the secular symbol into a symbol for Christian Hope.
Explore the animated and musical Presentation entitled “A Parish Vision of Hope and Ministry – Superheroes for Christ” created by Fr. Joe and Fr. Jared on our website: www.stphilip.org

Christian Hope

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which God has called you.” Ephesians 1:18

Christian Hope is a gift from God that we can experience in prayer. The anagram of H O P E will be used to illustrate four steps in prayer that help us to experience God’s gift of Hope in our daily lives.

Honesty
Openness
Perspective
Endurance

Prayer Steps to Hope

Honesty – Being completely candid with God about our thoughts, feelings and situation.
Openness – Consciously affirming God’s ability to do more for us than we are able to do for ourselves, through the transformation of our mind, heart and spirit.
Perspective – Asking God to reveal in prayer new ways of seeing ourselves, others and circumstances with eyes of faith and love.
Endurance – Relying on the power of the Holy Spirit for courage, self-control, strength and inner peace.

Weekend Scripture Reflection
  • Exhausted from keeping his hands raised up in prayer during the battle, Moses relies upon the strength of two companions who support his arms. Their personal assistance demonstrates the needed perspective of community, in living out what God asks of us.
  • St. Paul affirms that Scripture is useful for encouraging us in every good work. Scripture gives us the perspective of God’s wisdom. Wisdom is the gift that makes us competent and equipped for service.
  • The Gospel parable contrasts an unjust judge with our God who is gracious, generous, eager to help and trustworthy.
Reflection on H O P E – Perspective

One day, while watching the various daring and dangerous feats of rodeo performers, a wife says to her husband, “If you were in the rodeo which death defying role would you choose, bucking Bronco rider, wrangling roper?” Swallowing hard and thinking quickly, the husband says, “Ummm…I could be the announcer.”

The husband Honestly assesses his skills. He takes a moment to think with Openness about the best possible role for himself. Humor characterizes his unique Perspective. The man knows that he would have Endurance in doing the work of the announcer.

In every circumstance, God invites us to pray always in grateful expectation. Although situations may not change God can transform our perspective and deliver a renewed spirit of hope within us. We can be direct with God in our prayer honestly saying, “Lord, please reveal to me another way to see. Grant me wisdom.”

Listen and look carefully for insights and connections from within yourself or ideas that may be offered by others. God is present to us in our everyday experience and desires to guide us in ways that help us to manifest a deep faith, love and hope.

Reflection Question
  1. Who has held up your arms when you were weak or in need? Thank that person.
  2. What Scripture passage or Biblical story gives you consolation, strength or hope? Why?
  3. When have you been shown generosity, mercy and graciousness? When have you been an instrument of God’s goodness? Thank God for that opportunity.
  4. How has God helped you to see yourself, others or circumstances differently through a change of perspective?
  5. In what area are you being invited to switch perspective and change your way of seeing and being?
Prayerful Activity

Altering our perspective is best done when we are actively engaged in helping others through service. Ask God to guide you to see someone in your life that needs your support. What action can you take to help? Take that action and watch your world change before your very eyes.

Daily Prayer

God of HOPE, bring forth in us such joy and peace in our faith that the power of the Holy Spirit will enable us to act with heroic love in an abundant life. Romans 15:13