Finding God in a . . . Kaleidoscope  + A Poetic Perspective


Introduction: What follows is a two part look at UAP’s.  The first part uses a simple image to explain them.  The second part  deals with them in a poetic fashion. In our past  Sunday bulletins, we have highlighted, each in turn, the four Jesuit Universal Apostolic Preferences (UAP’s) as a vision of ministry for the future.

The questions now are, “What do we do with them?  How can we use them as we chart the future, in our own lives, in the life of our parish, and in the life of the wider community?”

The First Part: A helpful image might be a simple kaleidoscope.  I remember as a child being fascinated with this magical tube and the various colourful patterns this simple toy could produce.  Each time you rotate the kaleidoscope, you can produce wonderfully different patterns from the same coloured materials.  The kaleidoscope becomes an instrument whereby you can see the same reality through different perspectives or lenses.

St. John’s is blessed with a vast network of walking trail, connecting to trails on the Avalon Peninsula.  The city itself manages 125 km of walking trails, meandering through the city, through mature trees and wooded areas, along waterfalls, streams and rivers, around ponds and lakes and even puddles.

At St. Pius X Church and Rectory, we are less than a minute away from walking on these trails.  The photos with this blog are taken from this very area.

St. John’s City Council has recently announced a proposed master bike plan that will include some “adjustments” to this very part of the trail that runs nearby.  If we look at this issue through the lens of caring for creation, there are questions about disrupting or even destroying the natural environment.

If we look through the lens of walking with the marginalized, the proposed plan can make these trails accessible for people who have mobility challenges.

If we look at this through the lens of journeying with youth, this issue might help us to connect with youth who are strongly concerned about climate change and reducing our carbon footprint.

If we look at this issue through the lens of leading people to God through the Spiritual Exercises and discernment, it becomes obvious that using Ignatian principles of bringing everything to God through prayer and reflection would be very helpful here.

This is just one example of how we can use the UAP’s in our everyday lives.  It also shows how these UAP’s are interconnected.  Why not try these four lenses as you make decisions in your life, whether personal, social, physical, emotional, spiritual, for your ministry, or for your parish and wider community?

Now for the next question! “What action will you take, having used these four lenses of the UAP’s?  Ignatius was a contemplative in action.”  We can do the same.

The Second Part:  A Poetic Perspective 
What Can I Give Him?
What can I give Him,
   Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
   I would bring a lamb,
If I were a Wise Man
   I would do my part,—
Yet what I can I give Him,
   Give my heart.
This is   the final stanza of A Christmas Carol by poet Christina Rossetti. She not only draws us into the Christmas story, but she also invites us to be part of the action.  (This sounds a lot like an Ignatian exercise to me.)
This is what the Jesuit Four Apostolic Preferences invite us to do, to enter into God’s vision for the world, to take action, to give Jesus our heart, in these final days of 2020, and into 2021,
How can we:
lead people to God
walk with the marginalized
care for creation
accompany youth ?
 How can we make God’s dream come true?


Photos courtesy of the author.

Maria Kelsey is the Pastoral Assistant at St. Pius X parish in St. Johnês. She is responsible for the faith development programs for children, and families, as well as for the Elder Ministry Committee.

  • Lois Greene
    Posted at 07:27h, 17 December Reply

    Lovely reflection Maria – different lens – a great concept for trail viewing. I love our trails. They make St. John’s a special city.

  • Philip Shano
    Posted at 16:48h, 18 December Reply

    Thanks for the reflections and the reminder of my childhood/adolescent memories of those trails. How influential they were to my growth!

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