Missionary Thought of the Week for April 10, 2017
Don't fear the need.
You, as a human person, have many needs.
Go back to last week, when we contemplated our interactions and examined our sincerity. How many moments of INsincerity popped up when we felt needy in some way?
“Needy” does not have to be anything dramatic. I may need to say something before I forget. I may need to put someone on hold while I ask a customer to wait. I may need to feel like I matter, in a world that is stylized to an impossible ideal on social media and seems to have forgotten that I’m even here.
It is amazingly intimidating to admit we have a need... especially when it requires another person. Maybe it’s their help, or their approval, or their companionship. How small we feel when we fully confront that fact, that we are at another person's mercy. Yet… how universal.
Not one person can exist in the absence of others.
Every human depends on other humans.
Nobody escapes without needs. Nobody. Some of us may feel them more intensely than others, and some of us may not realize we have them at all. But there they are.
When we fear our own needs, we create barriers.
One such barrier is insincerity, worn as a mask over our need - either to hide it, or magnify it in the eyes of others.
People act insincerely for hundreds of reasons. It might be a sport to them, or a function of greed. More likely, it is a desire to prove to ourselves that we are important as we are. These all speak to a need, somewhere beneath our behavior, that triggers an alarm begging us not to reveal our vulnerability. Fake it! Hide it! Play it up! Play it down! Before anyone finds out!
Many times, we’re not even aware we’re doing it.
Many times, the first victim of our insincerity is ourselves.
How many times do we catch ourselves saying: “Fine, I don’t care!” and “I don’t need them!” and “What difference does it make?” and “I can do it myself!”
Well, sometimes those statements are true, and are good ways to motivate ourselves to keep at something. Sometimes, though, they are said in anger, or in reaction to hurt. Those point to need.
We here at the Mission of Saint Thorlak freely admit our needs. We have loads of them. We need you. We need to reach everyone who is starving. We need to take autism treatment to the next level.
And, each person who works with our Mission has the same basic need as we do: to know others and be truly known by them; to accept the friendship of others, and be accepted by them.
There is no escaping that need. It is part of humanity. How good, then, that there are others around us to help out!
Chances are, if you cultivate the habit of recognizing and embracing your needs, the others around you will be comforted: by knowing they are not alone in their needs, and by being able to help another person.
This all may sound elaborate, but really, it is so fundamental that it happens minute by minute without normally having to think about it. All it takes is an interaction: verbal or nonverbal; in thought, word or deed.
Sincerity is embracing our need. The degree to which we scorn that need is the degree to which we create barriers between ourselves and others.
People with autism: Would people understand you more if you unmasked your needs?
People with no diagnosis: Think of someone who troubles you, and then ponder if that person has any needs. Would they behave differently if those needs were met? Do you put barriers between you and that person? Are you willing to accept that they may not be ready to abandon their troublesome habits yet? Does that change your willingness to help? Why?
Newsletter subscribers: Have a look at the video which we posted about halfway down our Mission section last week. It tells of the power in one woman’s willingness to be upfront with her need for a familiar face. http://mission-of-saint-thorlak.weebly.com/mission.html
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