There are a lot of creative things going on in the Archdiocese of St. Louis!
Coffee-roasting is drawing one parish community together. Joyful Noise Children’s Theater draws more than 100 children and their families together to produce a biblically based musical show every summer. Kenrick-Glennon Seminary hosts the FIAT women’s prayer and reflection group every month. Our thriving Theology on Tap program for young adults has given birth to a series of related events and groups — like the Emmaus groups for deeper living and the Discipulus classes for deeper learning. The Campus Kitchen at Saint Louis University rescues food that would otherwise be thrown away and uses it to make and deliver meals to those who might otherwise go hungry. The Bridge Bread program in St. Charles provides meaningful jobs for the needy and fosters community in parishes. The Daughters of St. Paul exercise tremendous creativity in how they present the Gospel to the world using every means of communication.
In fact, if you think about Church history, there’s been a lot of creativity among the saints. Living in St. Louis, we can’t help but think of the many men and women who founded new religious orders to respond to the needs of their time — orders that live and serve among us to this day.
In my lifetime I have seen the creation of amazing evangelization efforts such as NET (National Evangelization Team) Ministries, and the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), and Saint Paul Outreach (SPO) — programs that not only make disciples, but train disciple-makers. I have seen the creation of new forms of training and fraternity for priests, including the Companions of Christ in the Twin Cities, the Institute for Priestly Formation in Omaha, and Jesu Caritas groups all around the country.
Why am I talking about creativity? Because we celebrate All Saints Day this week.
For each of us, becoming a saint is fundamentally about cooperating with the Holy Spirit. But the Holy Spirit is the source of all the creativity I’ve cited above, as well as many examples that I haven’t mentioned. The kind of creativity I’ve been talking about is one of the characteristic marks of the Holy Spirit’s work: It involves seeing what isn’t there and finding the resources needed to bring it into existence.
Saints throughout Church history, led by the Holy Spirit, have done just that: seen what isn’t there, and exercised creativity to bring new things into existence. Local people, led by the Holy Spirit, have done the same thing. What new possibilities is the Spirit leading us to see and create today?
Sometimes creative ideas work, and sometimes they don’t. But the Church has always needed creativity, and we’re going to continue to need it. So let’s ask ourselves: What if we_____? How would you fill in the blank?
As we ponder and celebrate the saints this week, let’s let the Holy Spirit be creative in us.
Come Holy Ghost, Creator blest, and in our hearts take up thy rest …