05 May 2006

Into the Lion's Den

In today's first reading, when the Lord asked Ananias to approach the newly-converted Saul, Ananias had good reason to be hesitant. Saul had come to Damascus for the express purpose of persecuting Christians. Crossing paths with the soon-to-be St. Paul might have earned Ananias a one-way ticket to Jerusalem, in chains. When Ananias expressed his hesitation, the Lord pressed him to approach Saul: "Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before the Gentiles. . . "

St. Paul's journey as a disciple began, and hinged upon, Ananias' trust in the Lord. Ananias trusted that the Lord would use this chosen instrument of his for good things. And He did! Ananias had no quantitative evidence that the Lord had touched Saul's heart; he had only the Lord's word that Saul would do great things for the dissemination of the Good News.

Sometimes we are asked to display a similar trust in the Lord's presence to those around us. We will never know, on this side of eternity, how many people's journeys to Christ began with a kind word which we said, a simple gesture of courtesy or a good example which we gave. When we sense, in ourselves, a hesitation to approach someone with whom we have been encouraged or instructed to interact, let us remember the Lord's words to Ananias, "Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen." Sometimes we do not have a good reason, as did Ananias, to avoid someone. Sometimes it is only an instinct inside us which causes us to feel a hesitation or an aversion to certain people. We cannot let this affect our fidelity to the Lord's will if he desires us to interact with certain people whom he has placed in our life. They are instruments whom he intends to use; sometimes, however, he counts on us to help them begin their journey. May we, by our obedience to the circumstances around us, be his courageous instruments.

"In order to obey well, we must not apply the obedience to us, but we must apply ourselves to the obedience."
St. Jane de Chantal

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