Archdiocese Local Special Issue - Convocation

There is beauty in our brokenness

Mark Hart, executive vice president of Life Teen International, spoke to delegates about using their brokenness to draw closer to God. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

by Joe Bollig

We’re broken and messy, and have tons of excuses to not evangelize.

But our broken, messy lives are where ministry lives and thrives.

“We all have excuses; we all have crosses,” said Mark Hart, executive vice president of Life Teen International. He was the first keynote speaker at the Enflame convocation on Oct. 3.

We’re no different, he said, than the characters in Scripture: 73 books written by 45-plus authors over 1,700 years. Page after page, failure after failure, sinner after sinner — and God didn’t give up on them.

“Everyone’s got an excuse,” Hart said. “Miriam is a gossip, Martha is a worrywart, Moses is a murderer. Everyone’s got an excuse. 

“Martha is a busybody, Zacchaeus is short. Lazarus is dead. Everyone’s got an excuse. And God doesn’t give up. He continues to pour out his grace and life.”

You don’t have to be a theologian, Bible expert, a catechetical whiz or even “have it all figured out” to be an effective evangelist.

“The only thing we have to know to be an effective evangelist is that I’m a sinner and God is mercy,” said Hart.

People think God could choose someone better.

“I’m not going to lie to you, Kansas,” said Hart. “God could have chosen better people than you. He could have chosen holier people. He could have chosen smarter people . . . than you and me, but he didn’t.

“For whatever reason in God’s divine providence . . . for this unique moment in salvation history, this unique moment in [this] culture and the church, he [chose] you.”

God doesn’t look at our brokenness and call us unworthy. Through the sacraments, he pours his grace in us to bring us back to serve a new purpose, he said.

In Japan, when a treasured family porcelain object is broken, it is not thrown away. Rather, it is repaired by a special art form called “kintsugi.” The pieces of the object are joined together with a precious metal, like gold.

“We are broken, but in the hands of the Master Craftsman our beauty is unearthed,” said Hart. “Because of the hands of grace, we never miss our purpose, we always serve a function.”

We must begin with humility, he concluded.

“As the Lord draws near to you, draw near to him,” said Hart. “You’ve done the preparation. You’ve prayed; you’ve planned. Have the humility [to lay] all those plans at the feet of the Lord and say, ‘Take what you want to take, leave what you want to leave, and may the glory come not to us, but to you.’”

About the author

Joe Bollig

Joe has been with The Leaven since 1993. He has a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in journalism. Before entering print journalism he worked in commercial radio. He has worked for the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press and Sun Publications in Overland Park. During his journalistic career he has covered beats including police, fire, business, features, general assignment and religion. While at The Leaven he has been a writer, photographer and videographer. He has won or shared several Catholic Press Association awards, as well as Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara awards for mission coverage. He graduated with a certification in catechesis from a two-year distance learning program offered by the Maryvale Institute for Catechesis, Theology, Philosophy and Religious Education at Old Oscott, Great Barr, in Birmingham, England.

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