1 Corinthians 1:26-31
In the opening reading the first line captures me: "Consider your own calling, brothers and sisters."
When I reflect seriously upon my own calling, I recognize immediately that Paul’s description of the origins of the Corinthians fits me. Born a year just before the Crash of ‘29, raised a child of working class immigrants during the Great Depression, I was certainly one of "the weak of this world." Living in a city parish of 20,000 families, I was one of a vast majority of the lower middle-class who packed the churches on Sundays (upper church, lower church, and the auditorium – six Masses in each church and three in the auditorium). What was my calling? I was called to be a good Catholic – a child of God, a follower of Jesus, a good boy at home and at school, and an active member of the parish to the degree that my age would allow. And as I grew and developed, so my calling developed. It deepened and I came to understand more and more what Paul goes on to say – that I am called to be one in and with Jesus Christ, who wants me to let him manifest himself through me and in me.
"Consider your own calling, brothers and sisters." The Gospel parable of Matthew carries this directive of Paul into my practical daily life. It is the parable of the talents. The master on returning found that the first servant had doubled his five talents into ten; the second had done likewise, doubling his two into four, while the third in his fear had buried his one and made nothing. God has gifted me not with silver or gold but with himself, Jesus His only Son. And He renews that gift each day; in fact in every moment of each day. My calling is to take my human personality and put it to work for Christ – to let him fulfill himself through me. Do I give myself over to him in prayer every day so that this may become possible? Do I look for him in all those I meet? Am I kind and gentle, giving of myself to them so that they see him in me? When eventually I go to meet him in death, will he find himself in me? Will he see himself in me – a humble, kind, and gentle old man, pouring himself out in love, as he does for me? I pray in hope that that may be so – and I hear another question, "How well are you working on it?"
Give me the desire To know Thee more intimately, love Thee more deeply, follow Thee more closely, and serve Thee more faithfully. (Ignatius Loyola) Live Jesus in our hearts forever. (John Baptist De la Salle) May the Passion of Christ be ever in our hearts. (Paul of the Cross) Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends . . . Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything. (Pedro Arrupe)
Br. Peter A. Fitzpatrick, CFX , a Xaverian Brother, is a Passionist Associate at Ryken House, across the creek from the Passionist Monastery, in Louisville, Kentucky.