Monday, January 9, 2017

Discernment of your mission and purpose in life

Discernment of your mission and purpose in life:  Today we celebrate the baptism of our Lord. The first reading of today’s liturgy, Isaiah 42: 1-4, 6-7,  presents the prophesy concerning Jesus’ mission. God says to us through the prophet Isaiah that Jesus is God’s “servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased, upon whom I have put my spirit; he shall bring forth justice to the nations, …A bruised reed he shall not break, and a smoldering wick he shall not quench, until he establishes justice on the earth; the coastlands will wait for his teaching….”  Jesus, Isaiah tells us,  is “a covenant of the people, a light for the nations.” He is “to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.”

As you reflect upon Jesus’ mission, you will discover that your mission, through baptism, is the same, as is the way your creator feels toward you. As with Jesus, God says to you:  You are my “servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am please, upon whom I have put my spirit.”  To properly know your mission—the reason you are sent to earth and within which vocation you are to live out God’s purpose—you need to see yourself as “God’s servant,” as one in whom God is well pleased and upon whom God as put His spirit. Without that perspective, you are likely to lack the confidence to follow God’s direction for your life.  The task God may be calling you to accomplish and the vocation in which He wants you to do this,  may seem too difficult from a perspective that exclude’s God delight in you, God being pleased with you. 

Every day, bask in God’s delight of you, his pleasure in creating you and giving you an unique mission. Hear God say to you every day: You are be beloved daughter/son. In you I am well pleased. Hear God say to you as you consider the work you are about to undertake or the decision you are about to make: “Son/daughter, I am proud of you.”

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Discernment: Come and See

Discernment:  In today’s Gospel, Jesus goes to Galilee and there finds Philip. Jesus says to Philip: “Follow me.”   Philip, in turn, finds Nathaniel and says to him: “We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus, son of Joseph, from Nazareth. Nathaniel asks Philip: “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Philip does not argue but says: “Come and see.”  Jesus sees Nathaniel coming “toward him and said of him, “Here is a true child of Israel. There I no duplicity in him.”  “How do you know me,” Nathaniel asks.  “Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.” “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel,” Nathaniel responds.  “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this…Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see the sky opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of man.”

Just as Jesus found Philip, so, too, does He find you.  He says to you, as He said to Philip: “Follow me.”  What do you need to leave behind to be truly following the Lord? And once you have begun in earnest to live by faith and grow in your relationship with the Lord, whom, to you invite to do the same?   Do you, like Nathaniel,  when invited to meet Jesus, ”son of Joseph, from Nazareth,” ask:  “What good can come out of Nazareth?”    Furthermore, if invited to become a woman religious, a man religious, a priest, a deacon, do you  ask:  “What good is there in entering religious life, in studying to become a priest, a deacon?”  Come and see! Take that next step and pay attention to that small, persistent inner voice inviting you to consecrate your life solely to the Lord.

Perhaps you do not realize that you “will see greater things...” if you trust the Lord totally in His call to you, in His invitation to follow Him unreservedly as a woman/man religious, as a priest, as a deacon.  Remember that could be the same if God is calling you to sacramental marriage or to the single lifestyle.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Discernment and Personal Identity

Discernment:  In today’s Gospel, John 1: 19-28, Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to John to find out who he was and why he was baptizing; in other words, to give an account of himself.  When asked “Who are you,” John the Baptist replied: ‘I am not the Christ.’ So they asked him, ‘What are you then? Are you Elijah?’ And he said, ‘I am not.’ ‘Are you the Prophet?’ He answered, ‘No.’ So they said to him, ‘Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us? What do you have to say for yourself?’ He said: ‘I am the voice of one crying out in the desert, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.’”

In order to develop the skill of discerning God’s will, it is essential to be able to answer the questions about yourself that were posed to John the Baptist: Who are you? If not such and such, or so and so,  then what or who? What do you have to say for yourself?

If I answer those questions by saying: I am  Mary, I’m Elizabeth, I’m Mary Magdalen, I’m  Peter, I’m Paul; or I’m Joe Biden, I’m Mitch McConnell, I’m  Brett Favre, I’m Aaron Rogers, I’m Marilyn Monroe, I’m Carrie Fisher, I’m Warren Buffet, that defines someone who is not me. God’s will for anyone of these individuals is not God’s will for me.  I am not anyone else but my unique self. The purpose for which God created me is also unique, containing a mission given to no one else.

So who am I? Who am I not?  What am I and what am I not?  Who are you and who are you not? What are you and what are you not?

 St. John the Baptist found the answer to his identity in the book of Isaiah? In which book of the Bible will you find, or have you found, the answer to who you are?