Do You Belong? Are You Spiritually Committed?

Belonging_crThis is the third of a six-part series on my musings about belonging and engagement as individuals and as a parish. Last week I wrote about the way we consider our parish to be thriving – after all, by any measure (Mass attendance, sacraments, ministry, offertory, etc.) we are indeed thriving. We are people who “believe in, sign up, show up, and chip in,” – and so our instinct is to say that believing, volunteering, attendance, and contributing are all things that lead to a sense of belonging and engagement in the faith community. As was noted last week, it turns out these are well-studied things and, in fact, it is belonging that leads to increased believing, volunteering, spiritual growth, and financial support. It raises the question: what are the indicators that individuals and the parish community have a sense of belonging? Continue reading

Who are my mother and brothers?

What do you wantThe reading from today’s gospel (with a few extra verses) and St. Francis of Assisi’s answer to the question.

20 Jesus came with his disciples into the house. Again the crowd gathered, making it impossible for them even to eat. 21 When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” … 31 His mother and his brothers arrived. Standing outside they sent word to him and called him. 32 crowd seated around him told him, “Your mother and your brothers* [and your sisters] are outside asking for you.” 33 But he said to them in reply, “Who are my mother and [my] brothers?” 34 And looking around at those seated in the circle he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 35[For] whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3) Continue reading