Ever reach the end of a week and think – what exactly did I accomplish this week? What, if any, finished product did I produce?
I mean I did a lot of stuff. I woke up early and hit the ground running. I checked quite a few things off my list each day. Kids seemed to have *mostly* what they needed this week. Still, sometimes I can get to a Friday and wonder and worry about what real progress I’ve made. What about you?
There’s this wonderful prayer called “Prophets of a Future not our Own” that I’ve read many times (I’ve pasted it below). It’s a prayer about progress and our work being (as I wrote about yesterday) always unfinished. Every time I’ve read this prayer before I’ve assumed it referred only to the outward progress we make when it says lines like “We plant the seeds that will one day grow.” Today, however, as I pulled up the prayer to look at it once again, I was struck that maybe it refers to internal progress as well.
I constantly want to improve the person I am. I want to develop more empathy. I want to be more compassionate. I want to work on not being so overly stressed about being on time (my husband and kids can tell you this is a real big deal for me). I want to formulate opinions based on prayer and discernment. But as much as I work on growth in these areas, I feel the progress is very slow. And when I reach a Friday and reflect back on my week, I wonder – did I actually make any progress at all?
So, this morning, I am going through the words of this prayer slowly and considering how they might apply to my internal work. And as I do, I am seeing lines anew. For example, the line that says “We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker” strikes me this morning because we may never know what our internal work will mean to those we encounter.
My prayer for us today is that we can be content with our internal and external progress this week. May we remember that it is about the journey not the destination as we rest and rejuvenate this weekend.
Prophets of a Future Not our Own found here at USCCB.org
It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.
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 the 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 very 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.