Failure, frustration and loss ; the common person’s path to holiness


Being a human being is problematic. If success is not a name for God’ as Martin Buber once asserted, then how do we measure a life? Is there a way to experience our failure, frustration and loss as openings to a new way of being human?

Like other Yaconellis we’ve been blessed by at Greenbelt in the past, Mark knows how to get to the nub of an issue: “Being a human being is problematic’, he says ‘We fail to live up to the world’s aspiration to be sexy and successful and yet most of us feel equally inadequate at imitating the poverty and charity of Jesus.’ A director of the Youth Ministry and Spirituality Project, Mark is fully equipped not to leave us understanding our problems better, but with tools to deal with them. His groundbreaking book ‘contemplative Youth Ministry’ radically challenged current practice by taking the spirituality of young people seriously, but Mark’s passion for the practical contemplative way doesn’t just stop at 18. Just finishing a book for declining congregations entitled ‘Letter to a Dying Church’ he wants us to discover that within our aging congregations is a capacity for wonder, for kindness, for telling the truth, for giving and receiving love that longs to be released. You’ll probably not hear more encouraging words this whole weekend.

Mark Yaconelli