Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

A final Everyday Grace:
Travel with hope

by Mary Cronk Farrell

(From the Feb. 28, 2008 edition of the Inland Register)

Mary Cronk Farrell The story of our faith is filled with journeys. Abraham journeys to the Promised Land. The Israelites journey from slavery to freedom. Mary journeys to Elizabeth. She and Joseph journey to Bethlehem. Jesus journeys to Jerusalem. God obviously thinks journeys are important. Itís a good idea for us to stop once in a while and reflect on the road we travel.

Reflecting on my experience of writing this column for the past eight years, itís clear Iíve gone some distance. At one time or another, this job has embodied many of the passages of our spiritual ancestors, if smaller in scope. I hit the bumps, the valleys, the desert, the wandering and at least occasionally, the insightful view from the mountain top. Now I find myself at a fork in the road, as I retire from this column to focus on writing fiction for young people. Looking back over the terrain, Iím filled with gratitude for all I have learned, for the opportunity to write about what I believe, and for you, my readers.

In sharing my family life, my thoughts and my faith, Iíve wanted to support you on your path as Catholic parents, grandparents and followers of the Gospel. Perhaps I have simply been preaching to myself the lessons I needed to learn. Marcel Proust said, ďWe donít receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us.Ē At least, I hope you have found me a travel companion.

The regular task of reflecting on family life through the lens of Godís Providence, has continually drawn me to see my foibles in the light of grace, and to acknowledge that what often appear to be my childrenís faults are more likely opportunities for me to grow. Struggling to find the right words or structure for a column often helped me find clarity for myself.

My kids were ages 7 to 14 when I began. Their baby and toddler years remained fresh in my memory. I clacked out cute stories on my keyboard, and most challenges could be met with a little patience.

Now my youngest is 14. Writing about teenagers is less fun and less funny. Patience remains necessary, but in larger doses. Though Iíve gained much wisdom, I am now more aware of what I donít know, than what I do. I understand more fully how little control I have in my childrenís lives, and how much I must trust them, and trust God.

I have appreciated your kind words and e-mail messages over the years, especially when you related to my experiences, and thus assured me I was not alone (or crazy!). To find the courage to submit my columns, at times I pretended no one would read them. Writing personal stories about myself or my family often reminded me of those nightmares where you find yourself naked in public. The task of nurturing faith in the family requires honesty and humility. I hope Iíve met that challenge in my writing, as well.

As I leave, we face difficult times in our Church and world. The sex abuse scandal and the bankruptcy in our diocese have left many faithful Catholics in great pain. Divisions exist in our Church as do in the secular world.

We need Jesusí message of unity. We must take seriously his command to ďlove thy neighbor.Ē Jesus preached the Kingdom is now, not in some a perfect world, not in heaven when we die, but here and now. The Gospel calls us preach this Good News.

Not many of us are called to great acts of courage on the world stage. But all of us are called to great acts of courage in our own family, parishes and neighborhoods. Such action has the power to transform us, and thus the world. We are not alone on this journey of transformation. We have each other. God is with us. May we journey in hope.

© 2008, Mary Cronk Farrell

(Mary Cronk Farrell is a Spokane free-lance and childrenís writer. Her latest book, Celebrating Faith: Year-Round Activities for Catholic Families, has been published by St. Anthony Messenger Press. Contact her at

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