Homecoming by Coming Home to Yourself and to God

This week's reflection is written by
Rev. Paul H. Colloton, OSFS

We celebrated Homecoming 2019 on our campus last Saturday, a celebration which really began on Wednesday night with a King of Wings eating contest. It was fun to watch, the teams got very creative. Alumnae/i returned for Tailgating and the Homecoming Game, televised on ESPN3 (which we won, thanks be to God). Others joined us for Mass and a Reunion Dinner later in the day. Here three alums were celebrated as Distinguished Alumni. At the beginning of the football game we honored a rising Sophomore teammate, Jonte Tinsley, who was shot in a drive-by shooting last June in his hometown of Dayton. As with any homecoming, we celebrated joys, sorrows, people, memories, and reinforced our identity as Alums of Ohio Dominican University (ODU) or people intimately connected with ODU. Aren’t most homecomings like that? Whether with family of origin, family of choice, religious community, or other connections that hold a pride of place in our lives and memories, we reunite in our gatherings and feel a sense of coming home.

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St. Francis de Sales invites us to come home to ourselves and to God daily, when he says: “Be who you are and be that well to give honor to the Master Craftsman whose handiwork you are.” In other words, come home to yourself and to God. How? One way is to practice the little virtue of humility. My novice master taught us that humility gets a bum rap. Humility is misunderstood. It really calls us to walk on two feet. One is the foot of our gifts and talents. Be so honest about these that when someone compliments us on them, we simply say “Thank you.” Then we thank God who gave us the gifts and the ability to develop them in the first place. No false humility here. Own what God has given and continues to give and use it to honor the Master Craftsman whose handiwork we are.

The other foot carries our character defects, sins, and limitations. Be honest here, too, so that when someone points these out to us, we simply say, “I’ll take that to prayer,” unless we already know it is true, and then we respond accordingly. If we need to say we’re sorry, we do. If we need to make amends, we do. If we need to accept and own a limitation or a defect, we do. Isn’t that what the Serenity Prayer asks: “Lord, give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” No defensiveness or falsehood here. Own the truth you discover and ask God for forgiveness or insight or wisdom to know how to live in ways that our acceptance also gives honor to the Master Craftsman whose handiwork we are.

Humility is not always as easy as it might sound. But by being humble and growing in this virtue, we do come home to ourselves, to the whole truth of who and how we are. Just as we normally walk on two feet (or roll on two wheels), so too, our true selves move through life on the two feet of gifts and defects, grace and sin, talents and limitations. And when we can name and own both feet, we come home to ourselves in ways that free us for reunion and reconciliation with God, all God’s people, and the creation that we’ve been given to steward.

Homecoming and reunion are part of our daily lives. Be humble. Walk on two feet. Tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about who you are and how you live. And the peace of God will fill you to overflowing. No matter what you discover, you can embody the words of St. Francis de Sales: “Be who you are and be that well to give honor to the Master Craftsman whose handiwork you are.” May God be praised!