A heart’s Soup with Fr. James Mailady

  • A layman’s request

If, as a layman, I could offer one prayer to religious it would be this:
Please don’t just try to teach me about God.
Don’t just try to instruct me with your wisdom,
Or impart to me your knowledge.
Let me see your humanness, your mistakes,
Your weakness, but let me also see you loving God,
Trusting in Him, believing in Him,
Let me see how important God is in your life.
Let me see the unmistakable witness of the time you spend in prayer
Let me see in your face the face of Christ.

Have you ever wondered what would be the expectations of the people with whom and for whom you work? I wonder and ponder a lot. It is not an exercise in futility if time permits. The psychologists say that as human beings we would like to be appreciated, loved and respected. There is a craving, a hunger deep within each one of us for recognition. Yes, to be valued as a person, as a human being. The feeling, I am valuable, is essential even for a sound mental health.
It is true that we do a lot of good work, out of very good intentions. But the tragedy is that when it backfires, as it does sometimes, we lack the stamina/energy to face it. And the net result is an angry, embittered and disillusioned religious. Can we avoid such tragedies by lending an ear to the people? I honestly believe that at the end of the day, all having said and done, you will be appreciated, loved and respected for what you are and not for what you have. You are appreciated not for the car you drive or the house you live in, not for the length of your shoe or the drink you serve but for that beautiful person you are at the core of your being.
Oftentimes, we hear religious complain, “Nobody recognizes me, my work, my style.” The rejection of your work and style is not necessarily a rejection of you as a person. At times, a moment like this could be God-sent and a call for self-examination. If not, again, the net result will be an embittered, disgruntled religious. I think, we have enough of them around!

At times, we feel that it is our right to be recognized and appreciated, especially for the services we render. Hence, we feel bad when criticized and say, “People are ungrateful.” Now wait a minute. Hold on before you write off the people. Have you ever bothered to ask the people what they think about you and your work? What are their expectations from you as a priest and religious? You may say, Peoples’ expectations are always very high, unrealistic and nobody can live up to it. Mind you, you may be right-but at least you know it.
Reflection Questions: Do they not have a right to some expectations as partners and collaborators in the mission?
Do they sound too high and unrealistic?
Are they not valid for all times?

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