Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Looking through a Lens of Appreciation

It goes without saying that Charis Ministries offers many life-changing opportunities for young adults in the Chicagoland area in a given year. But this was clearly evident to me at the Charis Ministries Recognition Dinner held in downtown Chicago last Sunday night. While there, I heard about all the incredible projects that have happened over the course of the last twelve months, and even more importantly, the incredible people who made these programs come to life.

It struck me how many young adults had been impacted by Ignatian spirituality by the people in the room that night. Thanks to their efforts, I wondered just how many hearts were turned, how many lives were changed, and how many people felt the presence of God all around them. We may never know, but it took my breath away just knowing I was sharing a room with so many people who said "Here I am, Lord. Send me!"

To cap it off, we heard from Fr. Pat McGrath, SJ, on what makes the Ignatian spirituality that Charis spreads so special. He explained that it allows us to look at the world through the lens of appreciation, which was quite appropriate as we shared our own appreciation for the men and women who have made such a difference in this ministry effort. On a personal note, I thought it was moving that we were able to truly appreciate our friend and colleague Jenene Francis, who has done so much to propel Charis on a national stage. Using this very same Ignatian approach, I can truly thank God for the gift of Jenene over the past five years.

The Recognition Dinner was a perfect way to wrap up one year and look ahead, with the lens of appreciation already in hand, to the months and years that lie ahead.

-Paul J.
(Diocese of Joliet)

1 comment:

jmf said...

Paul and all who shared in the celebration on Sunday, thanks so much. These past 5 years have been filled with so many graces and I am so grateful, especially for those who have shared this ministry with me and Charis.

I've been trying to capture the essence of what this chapter in my life has been about, but perhaps I am still to much in the transition to be able to name it. I can say, that if the saying 'we teach what we need to learn' is true, then I have learned a tremendous amount about
* the challenges and benefits of a habit of prayer and reflection
* the delight and difficulty to finding God in everything
* entering into projects, programs and situations than are bigger than I am, or we are, with a spirit of openness and trust in the Holy Spirit to provide and even work miracles at times
* and the wonderful and sometimes frightening sense of freedom that friendship with Jesus brings.

As I say to each staff member as I distribute the checks on payday, I say thanks, to God and to all of you, for being a part of Charis Ministries!