Aimee O’Connell here again. I do not want this space to be mistaken for a personal blog, as this is our website’s dedicated space for Missionary discussion and instruction. I need, however, to speak as myself one more time before reverting back to more customary posts on Missionary instruction.
I need to talk numbers.
I need a headcount, a show of hands, a sense of how many of us are ready to call ourselves Missionaries. Maybe not today, but very soon. I need to take this idea to the streets, literally, and put it to work.
You already know that I believe there is something special about the Way of Saint Thorlak. The principles of caritas, voluntary humility, a contemplative sense of wonder and living by example comprise a cohesive spiritual skills set for someone like me who does everything prescribed by social science but still feels spiritually hungry. I do not know if I have a disproportionately insatiable appetite for love, or an inability to absorb the love I receive, or if I deprive myself of the love I need by the consequences of my social awkwardness. It must be some measure of each. What I do know is that the Way of Saint Thorlak takes familiar principles and applies them in a way that I can understand and manage and use day after day. When I follow St. Thorlak’s way, I am nourished. As often as I hunger, I turn to these principles and find satisfaction. I no longer starve.
I am one person.
I am a single-case design.
My testimony means nothing if I am the only one who experiences it.
The discovery of this Way of Saint Thorlak has worked so consistently well that I am willing to bank everything on it. I have made it my life’s work. It is no longer an idea: it is a MISSION.
What convinced me?
The point I wish to emphasize the most:
This point is a big one for me. Saint Thorlak did not reinvent or rebrand anything. He lived a holy life according to the way of the earliest Christians and in the practical manner of the most ordinary people. (Note: I have a difficult time calling twelfth-century Icelanders “ordinary,” since I find it remarkable to consider the grit and ingenuity required to live on an isolated island in the North Atlantic with sparse crops, few livestock, volatile climate, highly variable and dangerous terrain and few options for mercantile trade… but, I digress).
If anything at all is a shift from what we are used to, it is that people are typically taught to build fortresses, either to protect our self-esteem or to defend against others who antagonize us. St. Thorlak’s way proposes to abandon our armor and fight our battles with the weapon of vulnerability – which is to say, we use our need as an instrument, not an excuse to avoid others. I have always wanted to do this but have never known how. Few social skills programs include “how to need” or “why be vulnerable.” The Way of St. Thorlak accomplishes this, both in the how and in the why.
Each week’s Missionary Thoughts go into much depth to define and contemplate all of the concepts in our Mission Statement and Objectives. I feel we have laid out a solid program, and now all that remains is to see how it works.
The seventh objective of the Mission of Saint Thorlak is to teach everything we have talked about through the way we adopt and express these principles in our daily lives. Teach it by living it. Teach it by applying it in our relationships, letting it permeate the ways we connect with others. Then, in the natural flow of things, talk or write about it.
I have done just this. I have road tested St.Thorlak’s way for myself, have built stronger relationships because of it, and am now dedicating my time to writing, speaking, posting and Tweeting about it.
But it can’t just be an idea. The Mission of Saint Thorlak needs a roll call. We invite the spiritually hungry to adopt this Mission to relieve their yearning… and, we call out for spiritually well-fed people to be Missionaries along with us, to help lead the hungry to nourishment.
We will continue to talk more about this next week.
For right now, I need to know: Who’s with me?
Comment below the post, use one of our contact forms, or send us an email.
This is the time to be counted.
Pray: God, Our Father: Gather us together in this common Mission, under the patronage and way of Saint Thorlak, to bring spiritual nourishment to everyone in our path, as we ourselves receive Your nourishment!
Contemplate: Why is this a Mission and not just an idea?
Relate: Two words: ROAD TEST!
May the power of Divine Love shine in and through my weakness, so that He might be glorified in and through me, and that in my weakness, His power may reach perfection. Through Christ Our Lord, AMEN.
Fr. Mark P. Nolette - Spiritual Director for the Mission of Saint Thorlak