We are told in the fourth chapter of Mark’s Gospel that Jesus once taught using an image of a farmer who tills soil, plants seed, waters it, and, while he is doing other things, the seeds begin to spout over time. He knows not how it happens, but it is happening even while he sleeps. As a person of faith, you may have been told about some of the good things that happen while you’re sleeping: the angels watch over you, they finish your prayers, and they open an avenue for you to receive messages from God through dreams.
A lot has been happening while I was sleeping or otherwise preoccupied lately. Neither the university nor the parishes where I will be working is able to provide housing for me at this time, so Bishop Johnston has graciously allowed me to seek personal housing as I begin a new position within the diocese. Friends and family are rallying to provide me a place to stay soon. It is connected to what happened over five years ago at Saint Charles Parish when the rectory got rehabbed by many of the same people: I was able to utilize its immense space as a retreat place for spiritual direction, mini-retreats, couple, family, and small group spiritual counseling, book clubs, discussion clubs, prayer groups, and immersion groups to meet. Though it worked smoothly when I lived there alone for a few years, it could not continue the dual function when other priests, a deacon, even a teacher, moved in for various time periods.
One very generous donor who grew up at Saint Charles liked the concept so much that he provided money to acquire a house in which, when the occasion permits, will allow me to continue spiritual offerings that I and others can provide fellow sojourners in faith. Though the house we chose needed to be gutted, people have jumped in to get it in shape and plan to enhance it down the road so we can supply some spiritual services to those who seek a closer walk with the Lord. I am especially grateful to Mary Ann and Danny Welsh who stepped in to spearhead this project. Like celestial beings that take care of us while we sleep or are oblivious to specific mystical occurrences, they are commandeering a host of angels among us to make the residence a reality. Like the farmer, I know not how it all happens but am grateful for the miracle that is taking place while I am elsewhere engaged.
I want to thank all of you out there who lend a hand in this effort as I get settled in a new assignment and begin my next chapter with the Catholic community of Kansas City.