by Jim Thorp
“So I hear you’re back at St. Michael?”
That’s been the refrain almost every day for the past few weeks, usually with the lilt of a question at the end—and no, I am not sick of it yet.
The short answer to the implied question is yes – I am now working as the parish’s communications manager. It is a full-time contract position, which gives the parish and me flexibility in how we approach the work that needs to be done, when it needs to be done. This is my dream job, and I am grateful and excited for the opportunity.
The longer answer is that I never entirely left. I resigned from the Faith Formation role here because God was calling me to write and evangelize on behalf of the Church. I had many dreams at the time: to start a radio program, to finish a book, to drum up enough writing and speaking opportunities to be self-employed. But before I pursued any of those, I sought this job—a job that didn’t exist at the time. And for the past two-plus years, we have remained Mass-going, LIFT-attending, sacrament-seeking members of this parish.
Perhaps I thought that, because God was calling me to do something else, He would make it easy. He didn’t. People liked my ideas as long as they remained mine. Doors did not open. Perhaps I didn’t push hard enough. Regardless, God made my folly fruitful—provided just enough opportunity to keep the bills paid, then a part-time communications and evangelization job at Saint Andrew Catholic Church in Elk River. Several weeks after joining the team at Saint Andrew, they lost their Faith Formation director, and I was nudged strongly by Fr. Mark, my bride and God to step into that role on an interim basis. It was not easy for me, and I learned a great deal about my strengths, my weaknesses and the ways in which God works with us to bring about His plan, in His time.
Then—just when I was reaching the end of my rope—God spoke again. I was praying at the Archdiocesan Synod Listening Session here at St. Michael; Archbishop Hebda asked us to reflect on what God was calling us to do as individuals, and in the silence I heard: “It’s time to come home.” It was so clear and so distinct, and my heart was so full of peace and joy at these words, that I decided to mention it to a friend during the break.
Within a few weeks, the dream became reality. I am home.
I am still working on a book, and the radio program is on hold but not forgotten. In the meantime, we still have a few children at home, bills to pay and no shortage of good work to do here, at the parish I love.
Last year, as I grappled with Faith Formation and the apparent unreality of my dreams, I found a prayer written by my patron saint, Francis de Sales:
O my God, I thank you and I praise you for accomplishing your holy and all-lovable will without any regard for mine. With my whole heart, in spite of my heart, do I receive this cross I feared so much! It is the cross of Your choice, the cross of Your love. I venerate it; nor for anything in the world would I wish that it had not come, since You willed it. I keep it with gratitude and with joy, as I do everything that comes from Your hand; and I shall strive to carry it without letting it drag, with all the respect and all the affection which Your works deserve. Amen.
He gives us the crosses we need, not the ones we desire, to make us holy. Thanks be to God!
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Blogger’s Note: Going forward, Wednesday Witness will be a weekly post from St. Michael Catholic Church communications manager Jim Thorp, sharing ways in which God is moving in his life and family in hopes that others can relate. Don’t be afraid to comment, suggest topics, ask questions or share!