Read Sirach’s commentary aloud a couple of times. Then describe to yourself your "place" in life…"where am I at?" Then answer the question that Jesus poses to the blind beggar. "What do you want me to do for you?"
I am a Passionist religious. Have you ever wanted to listen in on a "down-to-earth" discussion between two contemporary religious? They probably would not be talking about the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. Rather, they would speak of being involved in building God’s kingdom on earth. Listen.
"Don’t ask us about our vows," they say. "Watch what we do until you, too, make a commitment that takes on the characteristics of God’s dream for us. We must keep on living in the hope…the power of faith that allows us to accomplish what our hearts hope for. We must embrace the future, rather than dwell on the immediate results of our actions.
We must embrace the future, daring simply to be present to those who are poor or rejected, voiceless or silenced. We must embrace the future so we can call for the equality, justice and happiness that are promised to all. Yes, brothers and sisters, fellow religious, let us embrace our future. Let us stop wondering about whether our religious families will survive. Instead let us proclaim the power of a future, a gift from God that begins with our commitment. Even though we are vulnerable, let us get up and return to the margins of society and church where so many isolated and wounded are waiting for us. Let us dare to address our leaders with our words, as well as, our actions -with words that inspire and surpass us, with words of the people we meet on the paths of our mission. This is to be truly prophetic." This meditation was inspired by a Canadian religious, Alain Ambeault, CSV. Yes, in the words of Sirach, "all of us differ, one from another, yet none of us has He made in vain."
Fr. Alex Steinmiller, C.P. is president of Holy Family Cristo Rey High School, Birmingham, Alabama.