Thursday Reflection 2.21.19

Thursday Reflection
Thursday, February 21, 2019
“What is God Calling me to do?”
           Can we be grateful for the failures or other negative aspects in our life? Should we?  Each year, I do one of the Confirmation Classes on various types of prayer that we Christians pray. Inevitably we get to thanksgiving. This always leads me to ask the teens what are those types of things in our lives for which we should be thankful, and they respond with all the usual suspects (as adolescents are expected to do).
           I have a bit of fun whenever I explain that I am ever so grateful for one experience of bitter failure. My very first exam in high school (you may guess the subject – and NO it wasn’t “religion”) was one for which I did not prepare, couldn’t be bothered to study for, and took ever so lightly. My grade on that exam cannot be registered here because the number hasn’t been invented yet to define how poorly I did. I was labeled as having poor study habits, bad attitude, and inadequate ability to do even rudimentary high school work. (And then after that I had to listen to my parents!!!!)
           That experience impacted the 13 year old me. It taught me the need for preparation and in fact, led to a life of appreciating scholarship in several fields. Of course I never realized it at the time, but it was an experience for which I became most grateful (well..all but the “grounded for the next ten years” part).
I am thankful that I got a chance very early in life to learn that I had limitations. I’m grateful that the Lord showed me that there would be several disciplines at which I could excel, but there would be some that I would, at best, only plod through. And I had to know the difference. I am so glad that I was given the chance to appreciate how we all differ in terms of talents and gifts. To presume that we all can think speak, feel or do the same in life is absurd.
So in answer to the question posed to my younger charges, I ask YOU: for what failure or negative experience are you NOW grateful? Has there been any unfortunately / sad / horrible event that has happened to you which has shaped the person you have become, and have you been open to the God’s spirit to use that event as a means to positively mold your thinking or behavior?  God has this sense of humor: allowing us to fail then so that we might profit now (and forever. Amen). So shouldn’t we be thankful?
Fr. Joe