On BEING A CATALYST
Catalyst. This is not a usual word in my vocabulary. So, I was surprised one morning in my quiet time when that word came to mind. After asking Heavenly Father, Redeemer, and Spirit what they wanted from me that day, I sensed that I was to be a catalyst that day. Now what does that mean??
Google describes a catalyst as a substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction without itself undergoing any permanent chemical change. It precipitates an event. Also, a person or event that quickly causes change or action.
What did this all mean for my life that day? After reflection, I saw it as a reminder that I was to make a difference in other’s lives that day. An interesting part is that this was not about my trying to be whatever I thought someone wanted, but to be true to who I am as a child of God.
As we near Tres Dias weekends, I think of the many opportunities that we will have to be catalysts in the lives of others. Being a catalyst can also be negative, which is not what we want. Each of us should be aware of the tremendous calling and opportunity that we have to make a positive difference in the lives of others as we interact so closely.
This is really about choice of what we choose to think and do. Recently we traveled to Indiana for some meetings and time with friends. Our flights on the way were delightful and smooth. Our flights on the way home were chaotic and seemingly disastrous—starting with our first flight at 5:30am. My sister and brother-in-law, as well as ourselves, had gotten up at 3am in order to make this flight.
A stewardess was sick and we couldn’t leave until another one was flown in and the flight would not leave until 10:15am. There goes our great plans of being back in Boise by 1:35pm.
Many travelers had their day’s plans totally disrupted that day—appointments not being met, not being able to connect with family, and many other “seemingly disasters”.
There was a wide array of responses among those whose life had just been royally disrupted. It became clear that no matter how sweetly one talked or the size of temper tantrum, the situation was not going to change.
What kind of catalyst would I decide to be? I didn’t have a magic wand to make things work “right”. But I could choose to be as calming effect as possible. I thanked the person at the desk for doing such a difficult job as to rebook the many passengers. I even suggested to her that she deserved double pay that day—easy for me to say as it wouldn’t come out of my pocket! She didn’t think it would happen!
Let’s relate this word to our Tres Dias weekends coming up and all the preparation that is going on. God is calling each of us to be catalysts for good as we interact together. How we relate as staff members will determine to a large degree what our candidates will observe about God’s love and gain from the weekend. Yes, someone may seem grouchy or sharp in their response. Or, maybe it seems to me that they don’t get their job done well and it impacts me. Or, maybe I feel hurt by what was said or how done.
I encourage each of us to be catalysts for good, directed by the Holy Spirit and filled with God’s love. What you do, how you interact, how you pray for and bless others, will help determine how the weekend goes!
Have a blessed week.
Jeanie Hershey, TVTD Spiritual Director