I am sure that you may have heard of, or experienced, the method of meditation where you place yourself in the scene of the Scripture being read as one of the characters. Well, I was right there with this Apostles this weekend, calculating what was going to happen since they joined Jesus. As a matter of fact, frequently when sharing my vocation story, I line myself up with Apostles. Let me explain.
Growing up in the 1950s, I was lucky enough to attend a Catholic school. I had Sisters for all my classes and at a very young age of ten, I decided I wanted to be a Sister. Here is where I fit in with the Apostles: I saw the Sisters as being ‘in-charge women’ and doing lots of things. My options as a female in those days were limited and I wanted more. I think it might have been that way with the Apostles. They thought that being with Jesus, the Messiah, they would have an in to some power! Little did they know where being with him would lead them. The same for me. What happened is that my life experienced many changes, as did the Apostles, and together we grew into a better understanding of what it meant to be a follower of Jesus and become an Authentic Christian. We came to realize what Jesus meant by wanting us to live our lives in the terms of a child.
Why like a child? Perhaps it is because children experience life without calculations. They tend to accept life as it comes, with joy and laughter. How many of us have received a fresh picked dandelion from a smiley-faced child, thinking they gave us a beautiful bouquet of flowers? Simplicity and generosity! Giving without counting the cost or results. Without much thought, they give and use the gifts God has given them. They have a freedom and openness that we are all called to share. Through my training and community living, and the Apostles being with and learning from Jesus, we came to realize that Jesus was showing us the way to a life of selfless service: we needed to think of others. Power and prestige did not bring us the freedom and spontaneity children experience.
Rather, only those whose hearts are open and trusting, like the heart of a child, really know the meaning of life. What can limit us is the loss of our freedom and spontaneity because of our calculating minds. Our limitations don’t come because of a lack of power or status, our limitations come because we are not free to think out of the box like children do. The reason I entered the community is NOT the reason I stay. A freedom from calculating my life has helped me grow. I think the same thing happened to the Apostles. They developed a better understanding of what Jesus was asking of them. We came to know and love Him from a different place in our hearts, with no calculation behind it.
Anyway, check you calculating monitor and your childhood freedom and spontaneity and see where you stand. Does power and status rule how you live, or does the joy of accepting all the gifts God gives you take first place? The choice is yours, just as it was for me and the Apostles!
Till next week