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Monday, March 15, 2010

Messy, messy...

Reading up on a book by Richard C Brown on "When Ministry is Messy: Practical Solutions to Difficult Problems". I started reading this much earlier some months ago after getting it from Wellsprings Catholic Bookshop. I had went there to meet up with my old friend, Peter Hong (with his wife, Belinda), whom I have not seen for some years now, since he moved his book shop to Lavender Street.

Why am I reading this book now? Well, apart from the obvious title that relates to my ministry, I am also currently on leave and using this time to catch up on some engaging reading material. I also need to find out what else I may need to consider when I am in the midst of such messy ministry.

It is a messy place out there in the parish ministry. When it is being run well, problems are kept to the minimal. Mostly, and this is found in all parishes, the ministry tends to be run in a manner where personal interests abound and fill with the intrigue of a spy/thriller novel that can make Ian Fleming proud. It may not start off as such. Everyone wants to head to a direction that is to serve the needs of the parish and, ideally, the vision of a Kingdom of God in which every one has a fair stake in it and engaging with the commandment of loving God and neighbour.

But, always along the way, someone must have forgotten the neighbour part and it then becomes a race as to who can do better to get God's attention and points.

I find it utterly tiresome and exhausting to be in the middle of all this, and wondering why are people fighting over a turf that was never theirs in the first place and why this myopic view of a Kingdom that centers on a particular ministry or post as if it really had their name written all over the place for them to use (or misuse) as they see fit.

The book suggests three main reasons why we have such messiness: personality differences, emotional illness and sin. These are nothing new and they can be found in various degrees and intensity in any ministry of any parish. The challenge is to identify them and work towards solving them and to come to a peaceful settlement. We are extremely complicated human beings - no wonder we are so messed up!...
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The Anti-Modernist said...

I am sorry that things have been so tumultuous for you and I do hope that this leave will give you some of the rest and peace you so desire.

A prayer come to mind from the Raccolta and I think it suits the situation.

Give peace in our times, O Lord, because there is none other that fighteth for us, but only Thou, O our God.

V. Peace be within thy walls,
R. And abundance within Thy towers.

O God, fromm whom all holy desires, all right counsels and all just works proceed; give unto Thy servants that peace which the world cannot give, that both our hearts may be set to obey Thy commandments, and also that we, being delivered from the fear of our enemies, may pass our time, under Thy protection, in rest and quietness. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Joanne W said...

Hi Father!

Just thought of sharing this bible verse:

"Whatever happens to you, accept it, and in the uncertainties of your humble state, be patient, since gold is tested in fire, and the chosen in the furnance of humiliation"-Ecc 2:4-5

Hope your holidays will the peace you need! :D

God Bless!

Anonymous said...

hi fr aloy..
you deserve a break.. messiness in various ministries is not uncommon.. some people want this way.. some dun listen to the priest. etc..

on reading.. i recommend some light reading.. "my life with the saints" by Fr. James Martin SJ.. a light hearted book..

"Memoirs of an exorcist" soon to be released bY Fr. Amorth.. a must read..

3. any books by Mother angelica (founder of EWTN) on scriptures..

4. books by anne rice.. abt her returninng to her catholic faith..


Unknown said...

Thanks everyone! :-)

Anonymous said...

Dear Fr A,

Love your wry comment on why some are bent on making God's turf theirs! They so totally had fogotten that they should be letting God use them for His purposes and not them use God as a purpose (yr Feb 9th blog).

Your shores are currently awashed with the rubbish that the tsunami had trawled up but please be comforted that there are many on the sidelines who are praying hard for the parish and of course, ones who are more God-focused, constantly reminding their members of their responsibility to the strata of the community that they had been called to serve.

Have a well deserved break and a God-filled one. Shalom!


Anonymous said...

Hello Fr Aloy,

Hopefully, your leave has helped you to refresh yourself. Maybe, this messy ministry is also your sacrifice to God during this Lent. Of course, as a human being with limited capacity, you will be drained by such messiness and unnecessary battles.

I guess there is always this Stillness out of this mess if one set his focus on God. Difficult but not impossible. This is where one no longer relies on himself but on God. All of us are broken in our own ways. Only the sick needs the physician. So, all the sick people come together in the church, then it becomes so messy lo...

Since they have come together, then it will be convenient to identify them and lift them up to God. Perhaps, they are also going through purification themselves, trying to find their identities too. It's just that they may look for such identities in the wrong ways.

Aiya, you can handle it lah. Have confidence in you as God has placed you in this parish. It means that you are more capable than you think you are as you are not handling this alone but with God in you and some people behind you. Even if you are going to collapse, you have some of us behind you to give you a push to move forward with God in you to keep you going. Who knows by Easter Day, you may see some breakthrough? Just do your best and leave the rest to God. Take care. God loves you and we love you too. Fr! :) Sometimes, when you feel down, our Heavenly Father is waiting outside for you to embrace you with warmth through the sun. It's always works to make you feel better when you allow yourself to soak in the warmth of the sun which is FOC.

With Love,
God's child

Anonymous said...

Dear Fr Aloy

This is your good friend, found you after all these years. Hang in there, it's been the same messiness all these years in all ministries. So it is indeed good to go away from the crowd to a quiet place regularly so that you will heal and be recharged with grace. He did say, didn;t he not...Be Still, and Know that I am here.

Love, LML

Angeline said...

"We are extremely complicated human beings - no wonder we are so messed up!"

That makes us HUMAN.. ha ha..
Thank goodness we have FRIENDS for support....

have a good holy week Fr. Aloy


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