The desire and need to belong

2 Mar


Belonging to God is belonging to his family, the Church.

It was, in one way, nostalgic.

But, it was also new and exciting.

A trip Louisiana, for a parish mission, put me in the midst of my Cajun culture. The same warm-hearted people with the same “never give up” conviction that, in the end, all will be well.

What’s new? The older generation was very literate. Of course they were. Our generation was one of the first that, in great numbers was able to attend and graduate from high school – and many more went on to higher education.

Prior to our generation, especially in rural areas, kids often dropped out of school to work on the farm or otherwise help support their families.

The mission was in Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in the city of Scott, which shares a boundary with Lafayette. Father Thomas Voorhies is pastor and his associate is Father Mario Romero – both full-bloodied Cajuns, at least by our own definition of Cajun.

And, I realized anew how easy it is to belong in Cajun land. There is no place on earth warmer than a Cajun heart. You want to belong? You belong.

It’s amazing, that precious sense of belonging. And I knew I belonged there just as surely as I belong in Florida, in the Diocese of Orlando, and in St. Mary Magdalen Parish in Altamonte Springs.

The theme of the mission was growth in our Catholic faith –to respond to Jesus’ call to follow him, to enter into a deeply personal relationship with him, to delve more deeply into Holy Scripture, to realize more fully the meaning of the Mass and to revisit marriage as missionary and a witness to the Eucharist.

I was deeply impressed with the dedication of the priests and the enthusiasm and commitment of the parishioners.

So, one insight gained over the weekend and three nights of the mission is the need, sometimes smothered in distractions, to belong to God.

 So, if you wish, begin to pray for the “sense of belonging” to God. Then move into a prayer that says, “Lord, I want to belong to you.” Finally, you will be able to pray with all sincerity and fervor, “Lord, I belong to you.”

Belonging to God – that’s the best “belonging” of all.


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