Like the call to have a regular spiritual practice, the need to “have a life” outside of parish work is essential. It not only reduces stress but also keeps us grounded. Our families or religious communities provide a network of interpersonal and intimate relationships. They bring to life the centrality of love, compassion, mutual understanding, forgiveness, and all of the other gospel values that are central to our ministry.
Having a life outside of the parish also prevents myopia, something that arises when one’s work becomes all-encompassing. Think about it. Aren’t some of the most interesting people the ones who also retain an interest in a wide variety of things? They tend to be grateful because they are ever-aware of the spaciousness of God’s world. This, in turn, makes them more generous, caring, and understanding of others. Your primary relationships are not only good for your own soul but also for the life of the parish.
TO DO» Mark dates on your calendar to spend exclusively with your family or religious community. Then hold as tightly to this commitment as you would to any other meeting or appointment.
TO PRAY» Jesus, you were born into a human family and established personal relationships throughout your life. May I cherish the relationships I have with loved ones so as to never take them for granted.
Popular speaker, catechetical leader, and ministry consultant, KATHY HENDRICKS is the author of numerous books, including Everything about Parish Ministry I Wish I had Known, and Forming Families in Faith: Cultivating Catechesis in the Home, both from Twenty-Third Publications.