Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Calling Us To the Vineyard

Today is Saint Joseph's feast day.

It is also the day the Catholic Church inaugurated Pope Francis.  Hearing this pope talk about how husbands and wives must protect each other and then their children, and from there, the community, and thus the world, it resonates so deeply.  Then I read the main stream media tag line that emphasizes, Pope says serve the poor and protect the environment.  The Pope said that, but he also stressed that stewardship  started with the sacramental hearts involved in the most intimate of relationships, husband and wife, and from there, grew outward.  

We are to care for the poor. We must.  They are a pathway to Christ, because they make us live out the beatitudes. All service done properly is love.  All love given to others, is given to the Father. If we serve others out of love, we serve the Father out of love.  Saint Francis understood this, and Pope Francis does as well.   He is harvesting, this pope, seeking to pull those who love the social justice component of Christ's teachings, to come into the liturgy more deeply.  He is sowing, this pope, to push those who love the liturgy, to live out the word in the world around them, to spread and share God's love on every continent, and in every home.  

There is no greater way to celebrate the Feast of Saint Joseph, than to be a steward of one's family.  There is no greater way to honor Christ than to imitate his human parents in their devotion and stewardship of him. 

The world needs to be peopled with Saints, who echo Saint Joseph, who imitate Saint Francis, who model themselves after Mary.  We must cloak in humility, humor and gentleness, our deep devotion to the one who is Truth.  We must compel with our words, with beauty, with kindness, with generosity, with mercy, with wisdom, the world that thinks all is sharpness and fire and politics and power, to wonder at a way that is decidedly holy, decidedly better.  

How do we do this? 

Prayer.  You knew this right?  Nothing works without prayer.  Ask. Dare to ask.  Ask for faith. Ask for discernment.  Ask for a more luminous marriage. Ask for wisdom in dealing with a problem.  Ask for self discipline in the silly things like diets and budgets and housework. Ask for self denial in big things, like forgiveness and service to others. Ask for knots to be untied, wounds to be healed, help with the most worldly and impossible of situations.   Ask. Ask. Ask.  God never tires or grows weary of our askings.  We cannot ask enough.  God does not give out grace today and say tomorrow, I already did you.   Ask.  Then watch.  Your world will unfold and transform, unmistakably. 

Fast.  Give up something. Today.  You can give up something else tomorrow, but give something up today, something that grips you, something that keeps you stuck in the mire of whatever it is.  If you can't give it up for the day, try for an hour.  Deliberately bend your will against your desire.  This is the practice of great athletes and great scholars and great saints.   Sublimation is the hallmark of our Blessed Mother and her most chaste spouse in their lives, and their son's.  You cannot serve in love absent sublimation of the will.  If we want a world that is luminous and awash in people living out the beatitudes, we must practice daily sublimation, daily humility, daily service. 

Serve.  The how of service is whatever surrounds you. God is terribly efficient in this matter.  He uses wherever you are with whomever you are with to bring you closer.  He may push you out into the world, but He will do the pushing.  Everyone wants to somehow become the break out feel good story of the day, the one that becomes a motion picture that others want to emulate.  That's not service, that's pop celebrity sugar frosted calorie free fame.  Service is the hard stuff of taking out the trash and making phone calls, of doing what no one will ever cheer, but which is given because it is needed, and out of love.  You know the cliche, character is what you do when no one is watching?  Service reveals character, by what you do without getting credit, pats on the back or accolades.   Service is to God the Father who sees, for those who need, it is about being the hands and feet that wash and carry, not the face or the name everyone remembers.

The poor are all around us, we need only start praying and fasting and the service will flow from there.  


Robin E. said...

Great post, Sherry! Taking this all very much to heart. :)

Anonymous said...

What a great post for the Feast of St. Joseph, who was all about humble service to the holiest of families.

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