We are all called by God in our Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation. We are further called by our sacrament of Holy Matrimony and Holy Orders. The Sacramental Life of the Church is a calling to unity and service in God’s Kingdom. We are all called by God.
In the case of our religious sisters, Discipulas de Jesus, and Brother Alex a Discipulo de Jesus, they are responding to God’s call by their permanent vows to serve Jesus in a consecrated community of disciples of Jesus. Fr. Gallo and Fr. Alex are called by their consecration both as Discipulos and as priests of the Church.
By our baptism we are all called to be prophets, like Amos. Many misunderstand prophecy as fortune tellers of predictors of future things. That is not true prophecy. True prophecy is telling the truth, proclaiming God’s Truth.
When the false prophet of the “Official” state religion of the Kingdom, the priest of the Temple of Bethel, Amaziah, confronted Amos, he was accusing Amos of being a false prophet, an agent of another kingdom in Israel. However, Amos knew God had called him. He understood that he and Amaziah had nothing in common.
“I was no prophet,
nor have I belonged to a company of prophets;
I was a shepherd and a dresser of sycamores.
The LORD took me from following the flock, and said to me,
Go, prophesy to my people Israel.”
Amaziah represented the King and the official state temple of Bethel, not God. Amos represented God. God was concerned for the people of Israel, not the kingdom.
My own experience of God’s call has allowed me to experience the call of Holy Matrimony and Holy Orders. I have been struck by the similarities of both. You all know that I am a widower and a father of six children.
My marriage began with me falling in love with my future spouse. Falling in love is an amazing experience. You have to let go and fall. You have no idea where your falling will go. Perhaps you try to control the process.
Falling in love is a spiritual experience. Falling in love requires sacrifice and commitment. Falling in love is about maturing as a human being. Falling in love may begin as emotional, but it leads to decisions and choices that gradually have less and less to do with me, but more and more to do with seeking the good of the other. When you mature in love you lose yourself to unite with the other and serve the other, till death do us part. Your truth is your love.
When Cynthia died, I tried to go back to being a single man again, but I found it very difficult to live just for myself. I didn’t need another woman. I did need to be in a committed, loving relationship. I have found that in the priesthood of Jesus Christ and His Church. It is amazing to me how similar priesthood is to marriage. It is not an emotion, but a decision to serve and love the other with my entire being. There is Truth in Love. In love there is mission.
God chose us. We did not choose Him. We do have the freedom to respond to Him. I choose Him. But He first chose me.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us in Christ
with every spiritual blessing in the heavens,
as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world,
How do we recognize God’s call? It’s like falling in love. It is so simple. It’s not complicated. Mature love demands a response and sacrifice. Amos left his humble profession and began to tell the Truth of God. Amos spoke truth to power. The powerful did not like him and sought to banish him.
St. Peter and St. Paul had their lives change when they fell in love with Jesus and changed the direction of their lives completely. This love is life-changing, not un-like love and marriage and parenting.
The call to discipleship is most clearly seen in the Gospel. They had already seen him at work. They had fallen in love with him and his mission.
Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two
and gave them authority over unclean spirits.
He instructed them to take nothing for the journey
but a walking stick—
Their love brought them to accept sacrifice for the truth of God’s love. Jesus told them to take nothing. He gave them incredible authority in the service of Truth, giving them,
“authority over unclean spirits.”
Then we read,
So they went off and preached repentance.
The Twelve drove out many demons,
and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.
As a priest we preach repentance. We drive out many demons, and we anoint the sick. The first disciples submitted to this because they were in love. Priests do this because we are in love. Otherwise, why would we do that?
We learn that we must be good stewards of our love. We must grow in faithfulness. We must care for our own souls to serve the other. We must learn to bring as many as possible into the Kingdom of God, living in the Sacramental Life of the Church. We will find Jesus in His Sacraments.