The Immaculate Heart
of the Blessed Virgin Mary
1 Kings 19:19-21
The Letting Go and Letting God of Our God-Given Call to Serve
Sometimes I hear young men and women, who financially sustain their families, say how difficult it is for them to let go of things that hold them back from pursuing their vocation to consecrated life and/ or priesthood, and yet they express their willingness to let God be their guiding light and companion throughout their discerning journey. Perhaps most, if not all, of us who are at the service of God and the Church have found ourselves in such situation discerning the way of life we are to live our faith.
Today’s memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary indeed invites us to reflect on the "letting go" and "letting God" of our listening and responding to God’s call to serve, which entails an act of total trust in and self-surrender to God’s will and providence. For the readings show us that, the more we trust in God, the more we are to surrender ourselves to God’s loving care and salvific will by both admitting and letting go of our own personal agendas, fears, doubts, refusals and unnecessary material possessions. We may thus be able to say with the psalmist: "You are my inheritance, O Lord. . . for in you I take refuge. . . and my soul rejoices, my body, too, abides in confidence."
The first reading gives us a clearer notion of the human trust in and self-surrender to God’s will and providence by showing us how the prophets were given the divine capacity of conveying, interpreting, and responding to God’s call to serve in and through words, behaviors, aptitudes, and gestures. For Elisha’s response to Elijah’s invitation to follow in his footsteps proves his determination to serve the Lord and his people without reservation and returning to his past life. No wonder he sacrifices "the yoke of oxen" and uses "the plowing equipment," which are the source of his livelihood, to serve his people.
The gospel also shows us Jesus’ obedient commitment to his heavenly Father’s affairs and his earthly parents’ care. For Mary and Joseph were faithfully committed to bringing about God’s saving plan by taking good care of God’s only begotten Son, although Mary was to keep in "her heart" the unfolding, mysterious events of such divine plan. We are therefore invited to let go of everything that hinders the fulfillment of God’s saving plan in our lives and let God reveal it in and through our unreserved and total commitment to our call to serve God and God’s people.
Fr. Alfredo Ocampo, C.P. preaches and is a member of the Passionist Community in Houston, Texas.