Retiring from the Past

05-22-2022Weekly ReflectionBrian Guillot, Director of Faith Formation

I have been a professional minister for forty years. I spent ten years in education ministry as a campus minister and classroom teacher of religion, English, and history. Since 1991, I have worked in parishes as a DRE, liturgist, and pastoral associate. If Indiana Jones is correct (“It’s not the years, it’s the mileage.”), my ministry has taken me to New Mexico, New York, Louisiana, Colorado, Michigan, Washington, Georgia, and Arizona.

I am a firm believer that the point of education is to make the world a better place. Students learn basic math and language skills not to simply repeat them for years but to move beyond them in order to improve the lives of everyone. That philosophy became part of my ministerial theology - the purpose of faith formation is to bring the Kingdom of God closer to fulfillment. Learning the Ten Commandments and the seven Sacraments is not an end but a means to make certain that everyone has the tools to work on their relationship with God.

We bring the Kingdom closer by showing God’s love and forgiveness, by making certain everyone is treated with the dignity and respect God intended. That is why I have always been more concerned with my students understanding Scripture rather than memorizing Bible verses, more about why we receive the Body & Blood of Christ rather than what we wear when we receive.

God created us good and good we remain in spite of our sinfulness. God created us good and calls us to bring the Kingdom closer through receiving God’s grace. Grace enables us to work to improve our relationships with God and others. Jesus and the prophets make it clear that God is not satisfied with the status quo. Our society, our Church, our community, our families, ourselves are good - not perfect. Therefore, we embrace the good we have and nurture the better we dream. I hope that I have given the children, teenagers, catechumens, candidates, and catechists I have taught over the past 40 years the foundations that they need to say “yes” to the good we do and ask “why not” for the better we have not tried.

All of this is a roundabout way of explaining that retirement is part of the process. It is time for the next generation of leaders to become the current generation of leaders. After all, someone left those many years ago so that I could begin my career. Now it is time for me to do the same. Even though I retire from professional ministry, I do not retire from baptismal ministry. The ministry we received when we were baptized into God’s family is a constant in my life - my ministry as Christian, husband, and father.

Thank you for allowing me the joy of teaching your children and you. I continue to pray for you and your families. Please continue praying for me and my family.