A Mistake Gone Well

By Fr. Brian Van Fossen
Chaplain

A couple months ago I placed in the paper an open invitation to ask questions concerning – well really anything.    As I look back on the article I thought it would be mostly questions dealing with poverty and social justice.  However, the questions that came in did not only deal with those real issues but also issues centering on faith, hope and love.  These three theological virtues, found in St. Paul’s letter to Corinth, then stemmed to areas of spirituality, religion, philosophy and just everyday matters.  So let us start with the everyday matters.

No – you do not really need to wash clothes but others do appreciate it when you do.  Yes – mostly everything dealing with condiments at the fast food places are free and it is not stealing to take them.  However, the dipping sauces for the chicken now carry a cost because of a previous generation of greedy college students.  On behalf of my peers – I apologize for that inconvenience.  A “spork” is a spoon and fork combination used to shovel and stab food at the same time.  No it was not a bad life – it truly is amazing what happens with the imagination when you have no money and everything tastes like Taco Bell Fire Sauce.  OK – now for some serious questions.

The first time I thought about being unemployed was when I was looking at graduation from college.  I was graduating with a Philosophy/Theology degree and, needless to say, that was not marketable.  I did not want to continue on to graduate school and my loans were due to be paid six months after graduation.  So I did what I was taught – I prayed.  I also practiced one of my gifts from God – I talked to people.

I worked with Career Services and they helped pull my resume together.  I talked with people I knew on campus and did experiences with “cross skills” in order to bolster my resume in weaker areas.  After talking with everyone on campus I went to the community and talked with people around the area and worked on networking with alumni from my school.  All through this experience I prayed that God would direct me to that one person or that one opportunity.  In the end, two months after graduation, after working for a temp agency in the local area, God graced me with a position that was amazing.  It was not exactly what I was looking for but it was exactly what God had in mind for me.  There is a saying; “Work hard and pray harder”.  I hope that saying serves you as well as it has served me.  This first question is based on trusting in God’s providence.  The second question deals with faith, which is different from trust.

First of all faith is a gift from God because it is a grace.  So as far as a question on how do I “get faith”, the answer is as simple as asking for it and as hard as being open to the grace.  That is where trust comes into the picture.  Trust is the opening up to God that increases faith.  It also increases peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, joy and all the other fruits of the Holy Spirit.  It also increases freedom and I think that is why some poor people are happier than some rich people.  This is the poverty that Blessed Mother Teresa talked about in America.  This poverty is where people do not have faith but fill the void with “things” or people.  This spins into the objectification of people and the consumerism that leaves people empty.  Poverty effects everyone!

I truly appreciate everyone’s questions!  Please feel free in asking away for the next edition of The Wood Word.  I can be reached at [email protected] or on Facebook.  Please stay tuned for more questions with hopeful answer.  God’s Peace!