Incomplete

This prayer, written by Bishop Ken Untener (1937-2004), reminds us of our earthly journey, our spiritual ministry, and our ongoing mission.  It speaks to me, particularly, as I complete my assignment at Saint Charles Borromeo Parish and begin a new task at Rockhurst University and parishes in Kansas City’s urban center.  The work we do is always incomplete.

It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long, loving look at life.

The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.  Nothing we do is complete, which is a 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 includes everything.

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

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.  This enables us to do something, and to do it 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.  Amen.  

As I arise and go forth from one parish assignment to another task, I am grateful to participate in a far larger mission, part of a yet bigger undertaking, orchestrated by an exceedingly greater power, a small piece of a much grander divine plan.

16 thoughts on “Incomplete

  1. Father Don, I was one of your parishoners at St John LaLande. I was so sorry to see you leave us but I realize now that God has many plans for you. Good luck in your next challenge. with God’s continued grace, I know that you will do great things.
    Ellie Luzynski

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    1. Amen These words help us see our own lives in a new way. Thank you. Bless you in your new chapter . 🙏🏻☘️

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  2. You are so needed back in the Urban Core. I’m the present Board Chair at Journey to New Life and I feel just knowing you’re near will strengthen our mission. Blessings, Peggy Baker

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  3. Blessings for your new assignment ahead. You have a rare gift and I suspect you will use it well as you have before. Let us know where to find your future postings, we faithful parishioners alumni and at large still benefit from your words of wisdom and faithe.

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  4. I hope that you will have time to write to us and enlighten us to continue going forward listening and reaching out with your encouraging thoughts! Pax Christi Fr Don

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    1. Father Don, I say back to you, “Arise and Go Forth.” The time is near. Stand tall, head held high, and take pride as you walk away in knowing that you did our parish right. We are stronger and better because of you. Thank you.

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  5. Good morning! I live in Big Canoe GA and have been reading your letters for a couple years. All the best to you on your new assignment. Please tell me you will continue writing! And where to sign up? Thank you.

    Peggy Williams

    Sent from my iPad

    >

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  6. Father Don. Hello. I was one of your parishioners at holy Trinity Catholic church. I was in the youth group and you were one of the leaders. I was also one of the last wedding that was performed at holy Trinity. I want you to know that Paul and I are still married. That was 33 years ago that you perform the ceremony. Thank you for going forth and doing God’s work and always remember be in the world but not of the world.

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  7. Fr Don, we will miss you terribly but appreciate the time you’ve been with us. You are a true blessing. Wishing you well.

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  8. I am so glad that Elaine invited me to come to her anointing and your last mass at St. Charles this morning. As always you make each mass or ceremony seem like a special event. Thank you for your time at St. Charles. I hope to make it to a mass at one of your new assignments.

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  9. I hope you continue to write this emails because they always are so interesting. We can know what you are doing and enjoy hearing about everything. Thanks

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  10. You truly are amazing. Although I don’t respond often, I read and am inspired by you often. Most recently you brought us through COVID virtually and again for me through the seclusion of chemotherapy. Your words were inspiring and hopeful even on some very dark and tough days. I am cancer-free and believe inspiration like you/your messages, the community of faith, and the power of prayer literally carried us through some of the roughest days. I’m happy for you for your next assignment. I hope you continue some sort of blog/distribution messages in your next chapter and please keep us included. Thank you ….. XO Molly Cahill

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