27 January 2008

Et Secuti Sunt Eum

And they followed him. We hear those words in today's Gospel about the four fishermen who were approached by Jesus. For many, this is a familiar account about the call of the first apostles and their prompt response. This encounter between Jesus and the fishermen is often used as the quintessential "vocation story" when speaking about or praying for vocations to the priesthood or religious life.
It is true that this radical call of Jesus -- to the fishing brothers -- to leave behind their former way of life, their family and all things familiar is very similar to the experience of responding to the Lord's invitation to follow Him in the consecrated life. It is also true, however, that each of us hears this call on a daily basis. The call of Jesus to leave behind what is familiar, comfortable and routine is not reserved only for major life-changing decisions such as marriage, religious vocations and career changes.
The Lord calls us daily to follow Him more closely. He calls us to respond gently and kindly to someone who has been unkind to us. He asks us to find reasons to excuse the shortcomings of those with whom we work and those with whom we live. He invites us to see His face in the sufferings of a sick family member or a sad and lonely coworker. He looks favorably when we bite our tongue in the face of harsh words. It is not always easy to respond to the Lord's call to leave behind comfortable ways of reacting and behaving but by virtue of our baptism, we become sharers in the Lord's work of preaching the kingdom. Our response to the Lord's call in the quotidian activities of our ordinary days will draw others closer to His kingdom.
"Resignation is nothing else than a laying aside of oneself, and of all one's wishes; or, if you prefer it, an entire surrender of all that we are, into the hands of God."
St. Jane de Chantal

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