Fratelli Tutti 195: Great Goals and Small Acts

Is it possible to temper high expectations?

195. All this can help us realize that what is important is not constantly achieving great results, since these are not always possible.

Big results, well-publicized, get votes and possibly resources. The contrast in authentic pastoral ministry is what we often strive for, the small assistance of one person at a time:

In political activity, we should remember that, “appearances notwithstanding, every person is immensely holy and deserves our love. Consequently, if I can help at least one person to have a better life, that already justifies the offering of my life. It is a wonderful thing to be God’s faithful people. We achieve fulfilment when we break down walls and our hearts are filled with faces and names!” [Evangelii Gaudium 274]

Ken Untener’s famous text sums it up even better than Evangelii Gaudium:

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest. We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.

The Holy Father offers the distinction between those who take the long view and those who aspire for a gratification more immediate:

The great goals of our dreams and plans may only be achieved in part. Yet beyond this, those who love, and who no longer view politics merely as a quest for power, “may be sure that none of our acts of love will be lost, nor any of our acts of sincere concern for others. No single act of love for God will be lost, no generous effort is meaningless, no painful endurance is wasted. All of these encircle our world like a vital force”. [Ibid., 279]

All citations of Fratelli Tutti (which can be found on this link) are © Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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