Our Journey Together
“I pray that this will be my ministry: to join people on their journey and to open their eyes to see you.”
I first read this short prayer by Henri Nouwen in 1998 when I was in the discernment process for ordination. As I heard and answered God’s call to ordained ministry I decided it was a pretty good statement of what was drawing me to ministry. There’s a lot in this short sentence.
First, it begins with I pray. My life and my ministry start with prayer. I almost always begin any prayer with Come Holy Spirit and tell me how to pray.
Next, it asks that my ministry will be to join people on their journey. My experience with my own walk with Christ has helped me understand that we are each on our own journey; a journey that is uniquely our own. No one else can make the journey for us, and no one else’s journey will be exactly like ours. I view my own life as walking with Jesus. Your life is like that too. So as a priest what I want to do is come alongside people so that we can journey together. Someone described it as one beggar showing other beggars where the bread is.
Jesus talks about having eyes and yet not seeing. In his earthly ministry and in his word he is constantly trying to help people see with spiritual eyes. This is part of my understanding of the ordained ministry of both priests and deacons. As we walk together with the people we serve, we want to try to help people see with Spirit opened eyes.
Henri Nouwen also wrote, “Ministry is the spiritual act of seeing and helping others see the face of a loving God even where nothing but darkness seems to be present.” This Christmas as we think and pray about the incarnation, about God the Son putting on human flesh, may we all seek His face and find it.
Father Jim Fosdick SSC
Canon to the Ordinary