Viewpoint from Father Henry McCarthy 03/05/2013
COPING WITH CHANGE?
Father Henry McCarthy
St Peter’s Catholic Church, Gorleston
This phrase springs to mind for me at the moment as I am facing change this autumn!
Often in the past I have been required to move parish in my life as a priest. But this change is different. Because it is not just one change this time but two! I am leaving the parish after 10 years but also as I reach the ‘magic age’ I am required to retire from parish duties as well!
Most of us do not like change. We are creatures of routine. Anything that disrupts this routine we find worrying and troublesome. We long to return to the familiar and the settled
Change is very much in the ‘air’ we breath at the moment with the very damaging effects of the worldwide recession, which has put many out of work and all of us having to tighten our belts. It is also brought great pain and suffering to many, and to cap it all, we don’t know how long it will last!
So, in all of this we tend to see change as something negative, to be dreaded, to be feared, to be avoided at all costs, if possible
Yet, there is a positive side to change as well. When we see a tiny sapling, we know that one day it will grow into a magnificent tree giving shelter to the birds and shade to animals and human alike while at the same time becoming a thing of beauty to admire
Jesus was very aware of this in his preaching when he used many of his parables in the Gospels to emphasise the need to change and to grow. We think of the Parable of the Mustard Tree, the Parable of the Sower, the Barren Fig Tree, etc
Also, we are asked to change by Repentance, to grow into the image and likeness of Christ, ‘Pick up your cross and follow me’
John Henry Newman once said: ‘To grow is to change and to be perfect we must have changed often’. Not easy! But if we pray regularly then we may be able to change in the way God wants. I fully realise the pain and suffering often caused by change, but at times it may help if we try to use the suffering to grow in ways we may not have thought of before, it may well help us in the long term
As I come to big changes in my life, I will be praying for the grace to do this and despite any worries and fears I have for the future, I may be able use this time of change, not only for my own benefit, but especially, to enable me to serve others better in this latter part of life
But life is never like that. There is always a constant flux even if we live in the same area all our lives things are constantly changing around us. We often see this as a threat to our way of life, our values: our freedom
None of this is easy but this change will, with God’s help, allow His Holy Spirit to guide us into his Way rather than our own and in so doing can bring fulfillment to us and above all help us to serve those around us with greater love and understanding