Hope

I have St. Paul on the brain these days. Especially the fifth line of the fifth chapter of Romans.

“Hope does not disappoint.”

I do not know why I started thinking of Paul or the Romans, but it came to me in prayer, frustration, hurt, anger, and finally, surrender over these past few days. As another crisis hit the church, my own crisis of confidence hit home.

People disappoint. Life disappoints. Circumstances disappoint. Children disappoint parents. Parents disappoint children. We disappoint each other. Sometimes even those we trust the most are disappointing – those we depend on for clarity lack it for a moment we discover the clay feet beneath our heroes.

But hope does not disappoint.

When I was in graduate school at Notre Dame a professor told my class that “hope” in the Christian sense is an action word. It has to be. It is a clarion call to do something. “Hope,” he said, “is an unsatisfactory view of the present, a satisfactory view of the future, and a commitment to change.”

Absent the commitment, it’s not hope. It’s whining.

Last year, while preparing a paper for my studies at LaSalle, I read the line, “If faith is a verb, it is an action verb, and hope is its future tense.”

Think about that for a minute.

in our present situation, what are we called to do today? Where will hope take us? What will hope challenge us to become?

Write a note. Make a call. Ask God to bless our leaders – political and spiritual – with the gift of right judgment. But above all, stop complaining about things we cannot fix or do not understand. Do something. Stop whining and hope.

Because hope does not disappoint.

-pjd

Genesis

Life is full of twists and turns, high and lows, bridges and tunnels.

Sometimes, it’s filled with boxes and tape.

Since mid-September 2015 the voice of Five Minutes on Monday has been silent. It took a break because I took a break. I appreciate those of you that have missed it, asked for its return, and kept reminding me that I had promised it would be back. I had hoped that it would come back during Lent, then for Easter Monday, and now, finally for Pentecost. What an appropriate time to begin again.

The Spirit is blowing strong across the Diocese of Bridgeport. The blessings of a visionary leader, the blessings of a staff that understand ministry and its importance in the life of the Church, the blessings of new friends and new challenges – all fill my mind with a reminder one can never outdo God when it comes to generosity.

I have been challenged to start a new institute dedicated to the formation of those called to serve our Church in ministry. It will serve as the headquarters for learning for those who currently serve in ministry, those who wish to serve in ministry, and those who simply want to learn more about our faith. Officially, it will launch in November 2016. Between now and then we have to get the technology and structure ready for those who will participate. I have not been challenged like this in years. What a great adventure!

The move to Connecticut was Spirit-led, of that I have no doubt. We sold our home in four days, bought a new one in two, packed up 11 years of living in Bear and sixteen years of working in Wilmington, and headed north up the interstate 95 and across the near occasion of sin they call the George Washington Bridge.

The beauty of the area makes up for the sales tax and in many, many ways – big and small – we have found a home.

Maureen continues to divide her time between Gelena, MD, where she and the children are staying, Childs, MD where the children are finishing school, and Starbucks and McDonald’s, where the wifi allows her to get some work done for the NFCYM. She and the children have spent countless hours in the car and loads of money on tolls traveling the turnpike finding new ways to reach home. First one bridge. Then another. Then the longer way without bridges (or tolls)! Some weekends they drive here. Some weekends I drive there. Once the school year is over they will leave Maryland and the kindness of our friends housing them there and move once and for all to our new home in Fairfield, CT.

There will be time to tell you about our new home, my new ministry, the many blessings we have encountered here, and the wonderful friends we have made in the few short weeks we have been in town.

For now, let me simply say thank you to all those with whom I was blessed to serve in Wilmington and the surrounding towns and cities. If you would like to stay in touch, use the box to the right to subscribe to Five Minutes. Spread the word and let the list of subscribers begin anew.

On this feast of Pentecost, may we remember that Easter is celebrated every Sunday, that the Holy Spirit gives us the strength we need to recognize the Risen Christ all around us, and that even when darkness surrounds us – we are an Easter people and “Alleluia” is our song.

There is so much good work to be done in this chaotic Church of ours.

Let us begin.