“The abandonment and sufferings of the Servant of the Lord, even unto death, prove so fruitful that they bring redemption and salvation to many.”
When I was a little, I was the most kind and unassuming boy. Just ask my mom. During my junior year of high school, an adult took advantage of my kindness and broke my willingness to give people the benefit of the doubt. It was not really a big deal at all, but in high school everything’s a big deal. The lasting ramification for me was a slightly calcified heart and a strong commitment never to let anyone take advantage of me again. So last week when it happened, I was enraged. I trusted. I went against my gut and gave more then I should have and I was left holding the bag. “Shame on you Dan," I thought, taken advantage of again. A coworker could tell I was in a spot and suggested I pay a visit to adoration. When I went to open the church door, it was locked. My eyes rolled in self-righteous pity and I tugged on the locked door again to convey my anger. As the rattle of the church door shook through my arm, the message from the Lord that shook my heart was “it’s not nearly enough.”
In leadership and life we think one of the worst things is to be “taken advantage of”, having your kindness manipulated, your best intentions selfishly used for another’s gain, to have whatever is yours not respected or valued. But as Catholic leaders, is it really the worst thing? Isn’t it actually what we were made for – to be poured out for others until we are empty and completely available for our Lord? What came to me in prayer, as I sat silently outside my locked church, was not to grow tougher or harder, but to give more. I’d like to say my parking lot revelation has resulted in relegating high school Dan back into the yearbook. As we know from the story of the rich young man, it’s not just what you do for the Lord that matters, it’s what you give up for Him that matters even more.