St. Paul is straight-up with his exhortation to “lead the life the Lord has assigned you,” and “to which God called you.” One question is “do I put my full trust in the ‘assignment’ I have been given, and do I believe that God has called me to the life which I am fulfilling?” You could just dwell on that question, without going any further.
Nevertheless, if I take Jesus’ beatitudes seriously then I realize that God accomplishes more in my assigned life with my poverty than with our wealth, and more with my faith than with my activities.
May I suggest three words when you are considering how you are leading your life and whether or not it is faithful to God’s call: purpose, depth and zeal. I will leave to your imagination (a source of God’s grace) to figure out the meaning of those three words for yourself.
But what I want to point out with the help of Pope Francis is that my orientation to life has got to begin from within. Years ago a famous German theologian Karl Rahner, S.J. said, “The Christians of the future will be either mystics or they will not be Christians at all.” “Mystic“ refers to the fact that below the surface of our lives there are hidden depths to be revealed, like “waters that break forth in the wilderness.” There was a time, in our not-so-distant past when we could get immersed and were formed and deepened in our faith from the outside in. But that lived phenomenon no longer sustains our faith life. Pope Francis calls us to live ”from the inside out.” He wants us to be in an encounter with God’s love in Christ that is revealed by “being doers of the Word and not merely hearers who deceive themselves.” It is in the innermost place that God comes to meet us with his Holy Spirit. So our lives are called to uncover that hidden depth. To rediscover it for ourselves. That’s what I’ve been trying to get at here. Ponder over it, knowing that your inner life revealed through the concern for others’ reveals the Life of God in Christ Jesus within you.
Fr. Alex Steinmiller, C.P., is the administrator at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Birmingham, Alabama.