Presented by Kathy Abraham
This summer during one of the Parish Life Conferences, one of the orations began with a quote from Jeremiah "The temple of the Lord…. the temple of the Lord!" The topic for the contest was "Prophesying". How you may ask does this quote relate to the topic? In reality, it is all about getting people out of their personal comfort zones in order to prophesy. We in America have found ourselves in a comfort zone. Our churches are built thanks to our parents and grandparents. We have become complacent to give a little each week, go to church on Sunday and accept the status quo. Well, Jeremiah was warning us that this is not enough. The building is not all there is to the faith.
Sometimes we must do something uncomfortable in order to be saved—we must sacrifice. Prophesying is using the gifts we receive from the Holy Spirit in order to change a life. Spiritual giving through The Order of St. Ignatius is one step on the road to living a life that follows Christ.
Today, we face many challenges trying to live a Christian life. Each day we have the choice to say "yes" to Christ and accept the gifts of the Holy Spirit and allow it to direct our actions. It is hard to rationalize that we give enough to the church. The cross of The Order represents the ultimate sacrifice that Christ made for our salvation. The ribbon is red because of the martyrdom of St. Ignatius who was touched by Christ as a child. Members wear the cross as a symbol of what we believe in.
What really are we asked to sacrifice? We pay $5.00 for a cup of designer coffee without batting an eye. Many think it is enough to just be a member of The Order of St. Ignatius; but have you settled into yet another comfort zone? Can you really feel the sacrifice? Can you give more? I ask that you prayerfully consider participating in the ministry of The Order. If you currently participate consider increasing your gift level so that The Order can continue to provide the tools for our children to grow, aid our clergy and seminarians and for our ministry to reach out into our neighborhoods to help those in need. We aren’t just another charity. The Order makes every life count!
On Pentecost we are reminded that this is when Christ’s church began. His disciples came from all walks of life; they were simple fishermen, not shipping magnates. Christ called them by name and they followed him. At induction time, The Order calls each member by name not because we need to hear the name but because Christ is calling your name to action.
Many of us have our own reasons for participating in the ministry that is The Order of St. Ignatius. One reason may be the discovery that WE are now the adults of the parish! A generation ago, our churches were struggling just to be built. Many of us who grew up in the faith had wonderful orthodox icons to follow; people in the parish that sacrificed to make sure that their children were educated and married in the faith. They were our parents, grandparents, and the adults that were always called aunt or uncle even if they weren’t related. We have memories of them laboring on hands and knees as they painstakingly laid the flooring or painted the walls of the church by hand, cooking and baking endlessly for the annual dinners, picnics or bazaars.
Now it is up to this generation. Step outside of your comfort zone, ask the question, am I truly sacrificing enough, can I change a life? What memories am I leaving behind? For as little as a cup of coffee a day, through The Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch you can change a life.
Don’t be surprised if the life you change is your own!