Luke 14:1, 7-11
Did you ever wonder how St. Paul was able to accomplish so much? He preached unceasingly, established thriving faith communities, endured extreme hardships, wrote eloquently, and died heroically. Where did he get all this energy and all this courage?
Today he gives us the answer. "For to me life is Christ." After his encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus, Paul’s life was turned around. The grace of the Holy Spirit came upon him and he became totally committed to Christ.
Commitment is an amazing thing. It unlocks the doors of imagination and creativity, taps our inner resources, and unleashes a quality of energy unknown to the wishy-washy. Commitment rallies our courage, stiffens our backbone, and toughens us for all challenges. Commitment makes us stickers and fighters, not escape artists.
If we are on fire with commitment we don’t have time for self-pity. We are not procrastinators. We don’t sweat the small stuff. And we find an inner peace, knowing we are giving their best effort.
Besides, our commitment draws the world around us into our mission, enlisting help from others, and alerting us to opportunities that are suddenly before us. Commitment throws us into total dependence upon God and prepares us for Divine surprises.
It has been wisely noted that "Little people have wishes; great people have a purpose." We can learn from Paul’s words today and from the example of his life just what it means to love God "with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself." (Luke 11:27)
Yes, because of his unwavering commitment, Paul was able to accomplish much. But his joy came from something deeper than success in his ministry. His joy came from the awareness of Christ’s unwavering commitment to him. That joy is offered to all of us.
Fr. Alan Phillip, C.P. is a member of the Passionist Community at Mater Dolorosa Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California. http://www.alanphillipcp.com/