A Future Born in Mercy


Gaudí commenced construction on the Sagrada Familía, a Basillica in Barcelona, in 1882. They say it’s on target for its expected completion date: 2026. Gaudí died in a trolley accident in 1926 at the age of 73. Believing his work was for God, whenever someone chided him for the ridiculous time horizon, he’d answer: “My client is not in a hurry.”

I don’t know the answers to the many vexing concerns of our moment, but I think a good dose of Gaudí would at least be part of our way forward. We hear the wisdom encouraging us to be attentive to this one present moment (this conversation, this page of this book, this purple Climatis climbing our mailbox, this act of resistance) rather than frantically pressing and swerving toward whatever’s next–and this is absolutely true. However, to truly inhabit attentiveness to the beauty and responsibility of each single moment, we have to also trust the long view, trust the long story. I get the sense that Gaudí was able to enjoy each stone cut, each piece of marble laid, precisely because he knew the future was not his to control, that he was to do his part (and do it well, with real diligence, no shirking) but he envisioned a future that did not ultimately depend upon him. He would draw his blueprints and lay his portion of the edifice, but then other hands would take it from there.

The work before us is larger than us, larger than our lifetime. We have responsibility, but it is a responsibility born and worked out in mercy. We do not strain toward tomorrow. We do our good work today, and then we trust.

4 responses to A Future Born in Mercy

  1. Once again, encouraged in the way I needed to be today by your words. Bless you!!!

  2. “We do our good work today, and then we trust.” Love that. For so many years I wanted to do something “great for God,” wanted to a make visible changes in the church or at least some of its dear individual souls. Now I see more clearly that the best I can do are the little things God gives me to do, and he uses them as he will. (Possibly, there was too much ego behind that desire anyway.) Most times you have no idea if those little things make any difference to anyone, and then times come along when you learn that you’ve made impacts in ways you never imagined. It’s all a gracious mystery to me.

words have a way of making friends. drop a few here.