Recommitting to our service

    February 17, 2024

    “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”

    This is certainly something we hear in our work: why are you helping those people? Our responses are important not only for others to hear but for ourselves as well. What brought me to this work? Why do I stay? How do I feel when I can make an impact? How do I feel when it seems like things are not getting better or even possibly worse?

    At a high level, I am sure we share similar answers to these questions, as many of us of want to make a difference or respond to God’s call, but I urge you to think deeper as to what personally and specifically called you to this work. Was it something that took place with a family member, a formative trip or encounter, or possibly a search for meaning later in life?

    Jesus gives his response for His ministry:

    “Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do.
    I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.”

    We are not so naive as to assume that we are the all-curing physician in this passage. We know all too well that our work is never complete, and that we too need healing. This causes us to consider, not only why we do the work we are doing, but what fills us and allows us to be at our best for those we serve. Is it finding someone to be a sounding board, taking healthy time off, or making collaborations with community partners?

    By reflecting upon these two sets of questions this Lent, I hope we can be re-inspired and re-committed to our service with a meaning that is unique to each of us. Just like every person that comes to us, we need to be reminded that we too have blessed stories that are to be celebrated, uplifted, and used for the betterment of those we serve.

    Michael Smith is Chief Program Officer of Catholic Charities Maine and a member of the CCUSA Management and Administration Steering Committee.

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