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"A Future Not Our Own"

From Bishop Walter A. Hurley:
As I reflect on my nearly eight years in Grand Rapids and another 40 years as a priest and bishop in Detroit, I keep coming back to a part of a homily that John Cardinal Dearden spoke at a Mass for deceased priests in 1979 (A Future Not Our Own). It had been prepared for him by Bishop Kenneth Edward Untener. I was present when it was delivered.

A Future Not Our Own
It helps now and then to step back and take a long view. The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is beyond our vision. We accomplish in our lifetime only a fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.

Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said. No prayer fully expresses our faith. No confession brings perfection, no pastoral visit brings wholeness. No program accomplishes the Church’s mission. No set of goals and objectives include everything.

This is what we are about. We plant the seeds that one day will grow. We water the seeds already planted knowing that they hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that produces effects far beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing this. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning. A step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest. We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.

We are workers, not master builders, ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own.

Photo credit: "The Lonely Road to the Dinosaur Dig" by Trey Ratcliff on Flickr. Copyright (c) 2008 and made available under a Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 license.