The World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life was February 2nd, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. In the United States, it is observed this weekend. We are asked to pray for all members of religious communities, as well as for vocations to religious life. Personally, I have had a wonderful and meaningful life as a Salvatorian religious. I invite our young people to consider a religious vocation; if you have questions, please ask me. I thank you for your prayers and I also thank all of you who have supported the Society of the Divine Savior in our annual Salvatorian Sunday collection. I appreciate it and will give a report on the amount donated when I get the information from our provincial office. God bless.
During these first weeks of Ordinary time, our readings present us with various “call” stories, that is, an invitation from God to an individual for a certain ministry or way of life. Last week we had Jeremiah’s story; this week we have Isaiah’s, as well as that of Peter, James, and John. One could argue that the last three were the “key” apostles, judging from their presence at the Transfiguration and in the Garden of Gethsemane.
All of these stories follow a certain pattern. First, the call comes out of the blue, when the person is doing something ordinary (Peter, James, and John were fishing). Then the person being called protests that they are not worthy (Peter: “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.”) But that doesn’t matter to the Lord. The Lord has called and it is HIS work to be done: the person doesn’t have to be “worthy.”
I bet you can guess where I am going with this: God has called each of us by name, at baptism, to do His will, just as he called Jeremiah, Isaiah, Peter, James, and John. He calls us in two ways. The first is the call to all Christians to live as Christ did, bringing His love, compassion, and forgiveness into our world. That is the bottom line, the ultimate goal of our Christian life: to bring about His Kingdom of Peace. Then comes the specific call or the framework in which each individual will live that basic goal. Will I be married, single, a parent, a religious, a doctor, a bus driver, a counselor, a priest, a teacher, a mechanic, etc., etc.? But no matter what, we are called and the ultimate goal is to bring about the Kingdom by the way we interact with people: with compassion, forgiveness and love.
Our gut reaction might be to claim we are not worthy, as did Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Peter. But we don’t have to be: it is not our work, it is God’s work. We are simply His instruments. He will accompany us and help us, He will support us. We just have to show up and do our best to be loving, forgiving, compassionate human beings, no matter what our specific call and situation in life might be. Are we rising to the challenge?
Church sign of the week (two signs, appropriate for World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life) :
Old nuns never die, they just kick their habits.
Old preachers never die, they just go out to pastor.