Today I had the opportunity to meet for a retreat with the participants of my justfaith group. We have been meeting for over a month now to engage in group spiritual formation with a focus on the social teachings of the Catholic Church. I must say that so far it has been challenging for me in that every time we gather I am pushed to struggle with the ways in which I can better live out the Gospel values that we Christians profess. Today was an opportunity to get to know each member of the group better by hearing about the joys and sufferings of each person’s life. It says something to me that I was able to share at least a little of myself with the group today. I am not a person who trusts others easily, so it has been good to discover a group of people who have gained at least the beginnings of trust with me.
Last weekend the group was blessed to have some guests who talked with us about what it is like to be homeless, what it is like to struggle with addictions, and what it is like to be the victim of sexual abuse. They did not bring us warm fuzzies, but they did bring hope. Their stories put a spotlight on the hope that healing can occur if we are patient and persistent in our care for others. The director of our local domestic violence shelter left us with some thoughts to live by everyday that are attributed to Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you.
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough.
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.