Thursday, May 14, 2015

I Choose You

Feast of Saint Matthias, Apostle
By Beth DeCristofaro
“I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.  It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.  This I command you: love one another.” (John 15: 15-17)
May God confirm us in our calling to be Christ to one another and to all the world, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.    (This Day, May 2015)
Once I described to my Spiritual Director the Carmelite Monastery in Guam which is situated right on the Pacific Ocean.  I told him that I thought often about the beauty and peace of the place and, occasionally, wished that I could run away to solace there.  With penetrating wisdom he asked me if I wanted to run to a place of solitude for myself or run to God, to be with Him alone in solitude.  Truth be told, my “calling” was much more about me than about abandoning myself to the friendship of God.  I have never felt the impatient tug to spend time with Him above all else as a friend once described her vocational call to religious life. 
How often do we think that we could really, really pray and spend quality time with God if only we had a few days off or fewer responsibilities or a less hectic schedule.  I know in the depths of my soul that my relationship with Jesus is vital to me and to who I am in the world.  I count on Him quite a bit to make that relationship continue to flower despite my self-interest and distractions.  Jesus never lets me down.
Dr. Gerald May in Addiction and Grace: Love and Spirituality in the Healing of Addictions says "Purest faith is enacted when all we can choose is to relax our hands or clench them, to turn wordlessly toward or away from God."  Perhaps this is what Jesus refers to when he tells his friends to “remain in him” and that those who do not are “already condemned”.  Jesus, love and mercy incarnate, does not need to condemn.  Those who turn from Him condemn themselves.  That He is always looking for them, ready to bring them back to the pasture on His shoulders makes my knees weak with awe.
Matthias was with Jesus and the Apostles from the beginning of Jesus’ ministry.  He was chosen as one of the disciples after Judas’ betrayal to “go and bear fruit” by witnessing to the Resurrected Christ.  In what ways has Jesus chosen you to bear fruit as a Christian?  Do you relax or clench your hands in response?

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