As we get started on our Mission, it might seem like we should toggle back and forth between the camps to which these messages are aimed. Are they for people with autism, or those who want to help them?
You’ll see, as you journey with us, that there is really no distinction necessary. All we need is for you to ponder these thoughts as yourself. If you have social anxiety or difficulty speaking, you’ll read it with meaning for you. If you really don’t care for the company of others, you’ll read it with meaning for you. If you want to do more for people who are on the margins of your circle, you’ll read it with meaning for you. If you’re distrustful of other people, or completely confused by friendships, or desperately lonely, or such a secure extrovert that you can barely take time to read this between text messages, you’ll read it with meaning for you. In other words, it’s useful for everyone. The only category we need you to fit into is “humanity.”
Did you know the origin of that word HUMANITY stems from its earliest usage in the 14th century to mean “consideration for others”? (see www.etymonline.com, one of our favorite websites). It also referred to “the quality of being human.” It wasn’t until the 15th century that it became more closely associated with “the collective human race.”
The first objective in the Mission of Saint Thorlak is “to make people aware of their humanity: their human need to be known and loved.”
No matter who you are, or what your disability is, or what your talents are, you are human. You are part of humanity. You are created as an individual thread in the fabric of all other people. Your personality and neurological makeup might make it easier or harder for you to feel at ease around others. At the end of the day, though, you still have the same need with which every human is born: to be known, and to be loved.
Let’s use our etymology site to pick apart three more words we’ve been using.
Consideration (as in, humanity means consideration for others) might imply: Looking at… contemplation… reflection… or, taking into account.
(Somehow we have a sense, too, that this word implies “kindness,” although that would be a conclusion drawn from HOW we look at, contemplate, reflect or take others into account, wouldn’t it?)
Known might imply: Recognized… familiar… not strange. (We’re skipping over “famous” for now.)
Loved might imply: Referring to friends and relations. (We’re not taking on the task of defining “love” at this time, but don’t count that out for future thoughts!)
Okay, then. We’ll underline the words from the first objective that we just picked apart.
The first objective in the Mission of Saint Thorlak is to make people aware of their humanity: their human need to be known and loved.
This week’s thought: What does this mean to YOU?
You’re on this page because something about the Mission of Saint Thorlak interested you.
What brought you to this page?
Are you human?
Then, the first objective in the Mission of Saint Thorlak is “to make YOU aware of YOUR humanity: YOUR human need to be known and loved.”
Linger there a bit and look for where the truth is in that, for you.
Go back to the words we picked apart and think of which meanings apply to you.
If nothing else, we’re going to guess that you haven’t thought a lot about your humanity yet this week.
Are we right?
Mission accomplished. Or, better still: Just begun.
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