the surprise of grace

i met rosendo urrabazo in 1989.

when i was a first year seminarian, i spent the summer in san antonio texas at the mexican american cultural center (MACC) to study spanish. another seminarian, daryl olds, and i lived in our community at immaculate heart of mary parish. we would ride to MACC in the morning with fr rosendo urrabazo c.m.f. he was the president of MACC at that time.

rosendo was always a calming figure who was self-confident, faith-filled, and insightful in many areas of life. i enjoyed our 20 minute car rides with rosendo. both daryl and i heard many wonderful comments and new vistas from this former leader of MACC–the first major center for language and cultural studies in the usa.

rosendo is currently serving as the provincial superior for all of us claretians in our usa-canada province.

as i woke up this morning feeling a bit lazy, i read rosendo’s letter to our province at the beginning of our annual retreat that begins this afternoon. it was mostly an update of what is happening in our claretian ministries and communities.

at the closing remarks of the letter, rosendo included this:

“The pandemic has put a strain on us, and I understand that we are tired and want this thing to go away. Still, we are missionaries, and we live in the world not as the privileged few but among the masses of God’s people who place their hope in the promises of the kingdom:

•The promise that God will give us the grace we need to face whatever comes our way.

•The promise that together, we will get through all of this and even come out better persons.

•The promise that we are not alone even when isolated from one another.”

this was message and grace that my spirit needed this morning. and my heart is filled with thanksgiving in receiving these insights. we are effective leaders when we are instruments of the Spirit. this was a surprise of grace for me in a seemingly routine letter!

i pray for rosendo and all leaders of faith communities today. we live in a world where people’s response to authority is significantly changing and leaders are navigating their way through a miriad of factors that affect our relationships, convictions, lives, and service in the world. may the Spirit always be their inspiration, guide and strength.

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