Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Nothing new to report today that I haven't written about before (Bingo, various Parish Organizational meetings, and the like occupy just about any Tuesday of any given week), though I must admit that bingo left me a bit bewildered tonight, if only due to the heat. The one "new" thing I get to write about today is my volunteer hours at the Common Pantry, located at the United Church of Christ on Damen Avenue. While I can't brag about any sort of ecumenical accomplishment (the only thing I told any of the other volunteers there was that I knew Al, a regular volunteer at the pantry hailing from St. Ben's). Long story short? I spent the better part of my morning at the pantry, sorting canned goods, shelving bread, and crushing cardboard boxes. Tedious? You bet. A little strenuous? Well, just a tad. Worth it? Absolutely!

Though I am no stranger to the world of Food Pantry volunteerism (like many other Catholic high schoolers, I spent time doing (mandatory) service hours (?) in order to graduate), I still find it strangely fulfilling. I won't pontificate about the deep theology of serving the poor and whatnot, as it is something I still need to "work out" before I can effectively elucidate it. I can say this, however: the authentic JOY of some of the volunteers at these places should be enough to make any non-believer sweat. I certainly saw that joy at the Common Pantry today in the volunteers; I can only imagine how many converts and reverts the church would gain if each of her members had this joy. Just some food for thought (no pun intended!)

I managed to sort out some tensions between the maintenance staff and the rest of the "Bingo gang" tonight, as well. I've mentioned before how they don't always see eye-to-eye; without going into unnecessary detail, let's just say that the gymnasium full of Bingo devotees will finally have it's exhaust fans working next week!

The other "bonus" of being the go-between (or, perhaps, perceiving that I'm the go-between) is that I get to do some genuine "ministry." At one point tonight one of the maintenance men started doing what I wish everyone at this parish was more willing to do: talk! And not just talk as in socially acceptable chit-chat (which seems to dominate everything and anything we do these days) Before I knew it, this guy telling me his life story!

I really dislike the formalities that come with the "conversion" process. No one ever wants to be honest! No wonder the sacrament of Reconciliation is never utilized - everyone's afraid of actually saying what's on their minds (and, consequentially, their souls are virtually impossible to get to.) I do not see how intellectual honesty can be separated from a conversion of heart. Are they the same thing? No. But I cannot have the latter without the presence of the former. How can I effectively minister to people that can't take the "baby steps" needed to walk in the reign?

Well, yeah, I know I'm part of the problem. The fact that I have to resort to writing about these issues here instead of a private diary is probably someway symptomatic of this problem. This will not keep me from begging God for the graces needed bring more souls to His side. May my own soul be saved alongside the countless others that need his mercy! I should be so privileged as to bring even ONE soul to Him; Lord, may you grant me the graces necessary to bring many souls to you, including my own! AMEN!

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