The most difficult thing for most people is starting.

It’s must easier to ponder. To turn different paths and possibilities over in the mind until, at some point, that eureka moment arrives.

What we forget is that those eureka moments, those singular moments of invention and discovery and achievement, are always a part of the process of active work.

What this means is that even if we don’t know exactly what to do, it’s important to start. To start tinkering. To start speaking. To start sharing. To start lowering our guard. To start reaching out.

In considering how we might build stronger Catholic communities, it’s worth contextualizing the idea of “starting” in the broader creative struggle between action and contemplation. What does this mean? It means that good action requires meaningful contemplation, meaningful thoughtfulness, meaningful discernment. Yet contemplation alone is like the untouched clay of a sculptor.

Simple human tendency toward indecision often takes over. (Aristotle distinguished between potentiality and actuality—between possibility and reality.) In our indecision, we do nothing. And in doing nothing, we remove a bit of what could have been from our lives, and from our communities. And our Catholic communities become a bit thinner and a bit more brittle.

None of this means that stronger Catholic communities are born purely of our own grit or willpower. Truly, all that is good comes from God and his grace.

So let his grace encourage boldness in starting the work of building more intentional, and ultimately more human, communities.