God Multiplies

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Right before a Catholic Relief Services’ function, a woman stopped me with an urgency in her gesture. “I am here as the continuation of a story that began when CRS evacuated my parents from postwar Europe. My mom was able to get a janitorial job while she learned English. Eventually she met and married my dad, and they have six children. My siblings and I, as well as our children, all have college degrees and successful careers. I just want you to see the fruits of your work.”  

This is how it is with the Kingdom of God . . . A village of Guatemalan women received training on water, agriculture, and sanitation, which they applied to garden plots and water filtration. In celebration, they named themselves “intelligence,” as they realized they could learn, solve problems, and improve the lives of their families.  

The Kingdom is like a mustard seed that springs up and becomes the largest of plants.  

This is God’s work, of which we are given a part. Whatever we do in God’s name, God multiplies. Yet in planning for most of our ministries, we seldom actively incorporate the power of the Holy Spirit. We too often focus on what we can do, rather than what we should do. The latter invokes God’s desire and invites the Holy Spirit, who inspires us and leads us toward creativity and growth. As the Maryknoll Sisters foundress Mother Mary Joseph wrote, “And as happens so often when we stop to regard God’s work, there is nothing to do but wonder and thank him, realizing how little we planned, how little we achieved, and yet how much has been done.”  

© Liturgical Press.

Carolyn Woo

Carolyn Woo is the retired CEO of Catholic Relief Services. She and her husband, David Bartkus, are the parents of two adult sons.

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