As many of us are settling into new settings and routines built around the academic year, we want to take time to pause and reflect on how we communicate as Missionaries of Saint Thorlak. We have previously examined our Missionary Statement and Objectives in terms of how they might be experienced and enacted by each of us as we go about our days in the ordinary places we live and work and rejoice and struggle. All our Missionary actions hinge on relationship and communication in one way or another, both on the ends of giving and receiving.
The capability to communicate is often confused with, even substituted for, actual relationship. We find ourselves greatly influenced by emotions of real people and emotionally-loaded digital content alike, and, yes, we autistics are particularly attuned to our emotional climate, whether our faces or words might suggest otherwise. It is very easy to get caught up in emotions surrounding those causes which impassion our hearts. It is even easier to defend these causes when we feel empowered by others speaking out and writing passionately in words which resonate in our own struggles.
The purpose of this week’s thought is to glance at our communication habits and see how well they align with our spiritual concept of relationship. Why do this? Because: As we relate to others, so we relate to God. Our communication habits reflect the manner in which we connect with one another, and, so also, with God.
These questions are meant to guide us in self-reflection. They are not intended to be asked aloud.
“Communication” can be any form of conveying thoughts or ideas to others. It can be verbal or non-verbal, graphic or text, spoken or written, electronic or face-to-face.
May this brief exercise help set the tone for our role as Missionaries-in-Place, bringing the methods of our patron Saint Thorlak in line with what is relevant to us in our time… and seeing how it brings us all, collectively, to deeper connections with God and one another.
MISSIONARY THOUGHTS weekly posts will resume on September 30.
In the meantime, please enjoy the following article on the Nicene Creed by Fr. Mark Nolette as a complement to our Annotated Catechism for Autistic Thinking. This article originally appears in HARVEST magazine, a publication of the Diocese of Portland, Maine, which can be accessed here:
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