I love to write, and normally follow a careful process to make it work: rough draft, revision, sentence structure and flow. I didn’t do that here. I just sat down and let it flow, letting Bill Gates take care of the spelling errors. Sorry if it’s sticky reading. Fr Jack.
Read “Why I’m Leaving” Part 1 and Part 2
I have mentioned the frustration that I experience in the legion and how it has been an obstacle to my fulfillment. Everyone needs to feel fulfilled.
Every once in a while, I hit the “Next Blog>>” button on the top of my blog, and most times it brings me to family blogs, photos of babies, husbands and wives. You don’t find blogs extolling the joys of a dysfunctional family, how great it is to be separated or divorced, and what a joy that my child doesn’t have a father. No one willingly wants that – that brings unhappiness.
No one feels happy in something that’s not right. But when the family is working well, where there is true love, you can see how fulfilled they are. Family makes us love. If we don’t love we are miserable. And to love properly you have to be able to express love, affection, kindness, mercy and being forgiven. The dynamic of the family is the dynamic of the Church.
My family for the past 24 years (not my natural family, of course) has been dysfunctional. And that brings frustration. I haven’t been able to express in a healthy way all God has given me and all that he has been asking me to be. There has been a constant wanting to live behind a mask, to be false, to put on a way of being that is not me. I don’t want to live behind a mask anymore. I want to be free and come out into the light of truth.
I can tell you from experience that in my homilies (I do a lot of parish work) I have experimented with different methods: doctrinal homilies, catechetical homilies and others. What works best is to express the doctrine or the catechism through my experience. The more personal, the more it hits home, and the more people come to me and say, “Father, I felt you were talking to me today.” I wasn’t. I was talking to myself, preaching to myself, correcting myself, evangelizing myself.
The mask has to fall. It doesn’t help me. It isn’t who I am.
One of the things that has really gotten my goat lately (which means for many years) is falsehood, telling lies to protect personal dignity. We all do it. Our pride makes us say things to protect our image. I have done it, and I’m not proud of it. But I have been letting that mask fall. It doesn’t once and for all – you have to do it every day. Pride creeps like grass taking over the sidewalk. You have to keep trimming it.
That falsehood is what has been the main source of my frustration, a constant “Not like that, you can’t do it that way, conform, conform, conform.” Who says that only one way of doing things is right? Where is the richness of personality? Where is my ability to give to God in religious life what he has given me?
Over the past few years I have been bringing “maskless” sincerity into my dealings with souls, seeking what is best for them, or what God is trying to do in them. It means seeking the good of each soul and not what profit I or the Legion can get out of it. I cannot express how successful this is. But this has met resistance, or jealousy, or who knows what else, and in the end frustration.
A popular song repeats, “I get knocked down, but I get up again”, but if I had been the artist who wrote the song, it would go, “I get back up, but get knocked down again.” Over the years, everywhere I go, I go with the hope of starting over, getting back on my feet. It all starts off well, but within six to eight months I notice a change in attitude in my new superior, a shift, and little by little I see what I am doing slip away, replaced by someone else. Frustration.
That frustration has been the main obstacle to my personal and spiritual fulfillment. This is the main reason I am leaving the Legion.
If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart - Nelson Mandela
Read “Why I’m Leaving” Part 1 and Part 2