Friday, October 23, 2009

Don't pass the buck! -respond to the call to holiness

"We all probably know in some way that we're called to holiness bur perhaps struggle to respond. Feeling the challenge of the call and yet seeing the obstacles, it is easy to rationalize delaying or compromising and avoid a wholehearted and immediate response.

It is not uncommon, for examole, to 'pass the buck' to others whom we deem in a better position to respond wholeheartedly. Those of us who are Catholic lay people often look at our busy lives and sluggish hearts and suppose that priests and nuns are in a better position to respond to the call. After all, we may think to ourselves, that's what we pay them for! We may think that when our kids are grown, or when we retire, or after a business crisis passes, or when we don't have to care for ailing parents, or when we get a better job, or when we get married, or ... that then we'll be in a better position to respond.

Unfortunately, being a priest or nun doesn't eliminate temptations to also 'pass the buck.' With the reduction in numbers, it is understandably easy for priests and nuns to feel overwhelmed by their responsibilities and have such a busy pace of life that they might suppose that it's the cloistered orders who are truly in a good position to respond wholeheartedly to the call to holiness.

But even in cloistered orders, it's possible to rationalize and 'pass the buck.' What with caring for guests, overseeing building renovations, attending monastic conferences, or making cheese, bread, or jams, it's possible to suppose that it's the hermit who really can respond wholeheartedly.

But even being a hermit doesn't guarantee such a response. After all, hermits need to work out a rule of life, have meetings with superiors to review it, make sure their medical insurance is covering them properly, deal with internal and external distractions and temptations, and maybe even contribute to a newsletter for hermits!

What really holds us back from a wholehearted response to the call of Jesus, of Vatican II, of the repeated urgings of the Spirit, is not really the external cirumstances of our lives, but the interior sluggishness of our hearts. We need to be clear that there will never be a better time or a better set of circumstances than now to respond wholeheartedly to the call to holiness. Who knows how much longer we'll be alive on this earth? We don't know how long we'll live or what the future holds. Now is the acceptable time. The very things we think are obstacles are the very means God is giving us to draw us to depend more deeply on Him."

-- The Fulfillment of All Desire by Ralph Martin

1 comment:

carmelitemom said...

I have experienced this. There was a point in my life when I was *postponing* my practice of my Faith because I was not ready. I realized that I don't know how long I will be on this Earth and I need to prepare NOW...not at some unknown point in the future.