I am always struck by the number of people in the Old and New Testament who respond so decisively to the call of the Lord. In today’s first reading we hear, “Jacob, Jacob.” “Here I am Lord”. “Go down to Egypt.” And off he goes. Same with Abraham, same with Simon Peter and the apostles, same in the most complete way with Mary.
Is it the same today? We see it for sure with men and women who respond to the call to priesthood and religious life. We see it in the lives of the saints of our time like Mother Theresa. But what about me? Would I respond with such a resounding yes? I wonder. Am I too entrenched and too comfortable in my life? Is there a tendency to think these sort of radical calls are for others and not me? Then again is my life so busy I might not even hear the call?
Are these big life-changing calls the only way Our Lord calls us? Doesn’t He also call us in little ways? He calls on us daily to love, to forgive, to listen, to lend a hand. I think of a time in my own life when in the course of a very short time I was “called” or “challenged” by two different priests to pray more, to take prayer more seriously in my life. I set out to do that, to say yes, to make prayer a more intentional and certain part of each day. My life has not been the same since. My relationship with the Lord is so much deeper and real.
Isn’t that the way He works in most of our lives? Calls us to the smaller things, helps us in our efforts when we say yes, and builds our foundation of faith and trust that if or when a larger call, or bigger challenge comes our way we are better able to hear and say yes to the Lord.
We may not know much about Jacob or the apostles before the Lord called them, but my guess is the Lord had been working in their lives preparing them before their “big call” to serve Him. Might that then be our real call, to say yes in every opportunity and way we are called as disciples of Jesus Christ and as Catholics, and thus be more prepared for the ways that Our Lord may call on us to serve Him?
Steve Walsh is a retreatant at Mater Dolorosa Retreat Center in Sierra Madre, and a good friend of the Passionist Community