On Being an Intentional People

Being flexible is always good advice to give but not always easy to accept. When we’re on a schedule, have an agenda, need to “get things done,” we don’t have time for flexibility. Or so the story goes. Sometimes schedules become much more fanciful than real, especially when we don’t really control our destiny so much as the weather does. That’s when we find out how flexible, patient and willing to accept  the phrase “whatever happens” at face value we are.

Surely our “bus-weary” travelers to the Life March in Washington last weekend know now about flexibility. Not only was the bus almost completely full so no one could skulk off in a corner for some alone time, but a long ride became one of those “Twilight Zone” rides that would never end. Or so it must have seemed to the riders and their loved ones in “snow-less” diocesan areas.

Everyone apparently rose to the occasion: John Bouc, Althoff campus minister, put this on his Facebook page during the ordeal. His son was on the bus: “Well, after 25 hours, 171 beef jerkies, 1,000-plus granola bars, National Guard, firemen, Red Cross and a warm school for shelter, they have settled down to sleep after the worst part of the ordeal. Tomorrow starts the rest of the drive back — 12-14 hours? Thanks all for prayers. It’s a good day to be people of faith.”

This will undoubtedly go down in history as the longest of the marches, if not the most exciting end to an uplifting and awe-inspiring march for life.

It’s worth noting that they put their own lives on the line when they go whether they worry about snow storms or not. Many people do that when they reach out to others through parishes or organizations, but they don’t always think about it. It’s just the natural order of life for some, but it might be worth thinking about and praying about during this Year of Mercy.

We truly need to be “intentional” people, living our lives as we put the Gospel into practice in our daily living. It’s not the doing we necessarily have problems with, it’s the reflection on why we do the things we do. Over the years, when someone in authority asked me to do something, I usually asked “why” I needed to or should do this. I needed to know the reason, or at least I believed I did. Not every authority person appreciated my question, but even if they declined to answer it, I wanted to put it out there.

I’ve met people who live in an intentional neighborhood so they can be more of a real community than folks who may not know their neighbors even after living close for years. While the potential to get “too close” is always out there, it’s important to be able to reach out in friendship to others.

We also need to be intentional about our faith and our church communities. We can just “go through the motions” at liturgies, but my question again is “why” do it? We’re God’s people, and we need not only to realize it but to live the way we do because we’ve thought about it and intend to do it.