A Parish Vision of Hope and Ministry – Week 6

by Fr. Joe

A Vision of Hope

“I was always struck by saying that describes the vision of St. Ignatius: non coerceri a maximo, sed contineri a minimo divinum est (“not to be limited by the great and yet to be contained in the tiniest – this is the divine”). This virtue of the large and small is magnanimity. Thanks to magnanimity, we can always look at the horizon from the position where we are. That means being able to do little things of everyday with a big heart open to God and to others. This means being able to appreciate the small things inside large horizons, those of the kingdom of God.”
Pope Francis, America Press Rome Interview, August 2013

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.


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
  • Elisha told Naaman that to be cured of his illness he needed to plunge into the Jordan River seven times. Naaman was open to the prophet’s odd instruction, was cured and rejoiced giving thanks to God.
  • St. Paul writes to Timothy that even when we are unfaithful to God, God remains faithful to us. We can be trusting and open with God because God has our best interest at heart.
  • Open and complying to the Lord’s instruction ten lepers are cured by Jesus. Yet, only one leper returns to thank Jesus. The one thankful leper receives a complete healing physical, psychological, and spiritual because he was open to the fullness and abundance that God offers to the grateful heart.
Reflection on H O P E – Openness

When we are in difficult or seemingly impossible situations it is like being stuck in a big hole. We often react by increasing our panicked thoughts, become swept up in irrational emotion and throw ourselves into the frantic action of trying to dig ourselves free. Warren Buffett makes an astute observation, “The most important thing to do if you find yourself in a hole is to stop digging.”

If we stop reacting we can begin to respond wisely to our situation. Being stuck in a hole is an opportunity to look up from the hole to God’s Light.

In prayer we ask for Openness to discover how God is with us and guiding us to freedom. Our prayer needs to be followed by a time of quiet listening. Listening opens us to the gift of God’s wisdom. New ideas and possibilities open in us. We may be directed to discuss our situation with another person who can help us to discern our next right move. In small ways God helps with big situations when we open our hearts to God’s transforming presence in prayer.

Reflection Question
  1. In what area/areas do you honestly find yourself in a hole?
  2. How is God with you in this difficult place?
  3. Who are the people God has placed in your life for support?
  4. How might you reach out and make your needs known to God, to others?
  5. When will you set aside some time to sit quietly with God, with an open heart, in acceptance of God’s desire and ability to guide you in wisdom?
Prayerful Activity

Sit quietly with God in prayer. Recall a time when the Lord blessed you, healed you or touched you in some way. Gratefully savor the memory of God’s goodness to you and thank God in prayer. Ask God to show you how you might be helpful to another person as an act of gratitude for God’s goodness to you. Do the activity.

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