Parish Renewal: The Vision

February 19, 2021-Reading time: 2 minutes

The story goes that Steve Jobs, one of the founders of Apple, seeing one of those pioneering computers that occupied entire buildings and were only used by NASA and other such institutions, thought that one day these gadgets would have a domestic use, people would carry them in their pockets and they would change the world. Fifty years later, who doesn't have a personal computer and a cell phone? We can no longer live without them.

Columbus saw that by traveling westward he would reach the Indies. It is true that he did not see that there was another continent in the middle, but was his adventure worthwhile or not?  I have come to bring fire to the earth, and what do I want but for it to burn already? said the Lord. Great epics originate in big dreams, not small ones. 

It is true that dreams can come to nothing, or fail, but if we don't have them, we will never know. 

Dubliners is an old movie, which I love and recommend. It is based on a story by James Joyce called The Dead. During a dinner party held on Epiphany Day 1904 in a stately home in Dublin, the evocative power of music, poetry and old stories told cause Greta to confide to her husband Gabriel the youthful love she felt for a young man, Michael Fury, who died of love, after spending the night planted outside Greta's window upon learning of her departure for Dublin.

It is safer and more comfortable not to have dreams. To languish in routine. But it is exciting to live every day when one has a big vision.

"It is better to pass into that other world impudently, in the full euphoria of a passion, than to fade and wither sadly with age," Gabriel reflects, contemplating Greta's lost look as she remembers Michael Fury.

It is safer and more comfortable not to have dreams. To languish in routine. But it is exciting to live every day when one has a big vision.

Someone said of vision that it is "an image of the future that produces passion in us". Steve Jobs himself said that "if you're working on something interesting, that you really care about, you don't need to be pushed, because the vision will drive you."

What is the vision behind my parish? Why and for what purpose do I do all that I do? Sometimes it seems that parishes are driven by a short-sighted vision, or even by no vision at all, simply by doing what has to be done and has always been done. Without a vision of the future that excites, one does not take risks, one does not undertake, one is not daring.

I love the story of St. Josemaría when, in the presence of three young people attending a retreat, he saw not just three but three thousand, three hundred thousand, three million... and I think it's similar to what happened to our Lord: ...They will come from east and west, from north and south, and will sit down at table in the Kingdom of God....

Dare to formulate a vision for your parish. The best thing to do is to ask God: what is your vision? And when you perceive what God's vision is, then make it your own. The first step, then, is to share that vision with others. What a great agenda for a pastoral council, isn't it? Instead of getting together for those boring and inconsequential meetings, get together to pray and dream, to grow in the vision, fill ourselves with the Holy Spirit and then go out, full of faith, boldness and enthusiasm, to fulfill our mission.

The authorJuan Luis Rascón Ors

Pastor in San Antonio de la Florida and San Pío X. Madrid.

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