By Jane Rutter
Director of Stewardship and Planned Giving
Diocese of Jefferson City, Missouri
You never know where life will take you, how one opportunity or one decision will change the course you are on and render obsolete the singular vision you have adopted as the path to fulfill your purpose. This is the way of Jesus.
When he says, “follow me”, he is offering us the chance of a lifetime. Drop your nets - whatever it is that scoops you up and catches you in its clutches – and begin this great adventure of awakening the Spirit of God in those you meet. Come walk the dusty roads, come knock on doors, come offer Light to all.
There is a stirring in our souls that yearns to be called, to be inspired, to throw out all the useless stuff we have gathered and time we have wasted and say “Yes” to Christ. “Yes, I will come and follow you. I am done possessing. I am finished with time. Come and fill my anxious, tired heart. Let me give as you have.”
It is with this pulse inside us that we become one with Jesus, that we have a glimmer of understanding of his sacrifice at the cross. Filled with the love of the Holy Spirit we too have the burning need to offer ourselves – our wills, dreams and lives - up to God for His use. This is the glory of being called; this is the meaning of being a disciple; this is the way of a steward.
God’s response to our prayers never waivers, whether His response is to Moses, Daniel, Mary, or you or me. God calls us each and every one to complete the mission for which we were created. “Being sent on a mission is a consequence of being a disciple,” is the truth the United States bishops state in their pastoral letter on stewardship. (p. 14, Stewardship A Disciple’s Response)
Do not be afraid. God prepares us ahead of time for the journey, so we needn’t be afraid. In his Gospel, Mark recounts the apostles finding themselves on the boat with Jesus when a “great windstorm arose.” Of course, we know the story of Jesus waking up and calming the sea. He turns to the men and asks them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” Jesus’ message is clear. “You are under my protection.” (Mark 4:35-41)
God gives us understanding. St. Bonaventure tells us that the source of sacred Scripture was not human research, but divine revelation. “Through faith Christ lives in our heart. So we come to know Christ and this knowledge becomes the main source of a firm understanding of the truth of all sacred Scripture.” (p. 174, The Liturgy of the Hours, Volume III)
We will receive the courage and strength to succeed. When we submit our will to Him, God prepares us, strengthens us, and gives us the fortitude to succeed. Jesus promises to give us the gift of the Holy Spirit to inspire and strengthen us. “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever.” (John 14:16)
Let this be the day that we walk away from the nets that hold us in fear and comfort. Let this be the glorious Easter that we fully respond to Jesus’ call to follow him. Let this be the day that we pray for understanding, and courage and strength. Let this be the day we act.
And so I pray: Dearest God, our hearts are filled with your love. Now fill us with your direction.