Friday, September 22, 2006

Come and See... Come and Follow Me

As Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, we are well aware of the intense secularization of our society in this age. As followers of our holy father Saint Francis, we want to bear witness to the presence of the Lord in our world. Signs of transcendence, which were once so commonplace, are now sorely missing from our worldview. Crosses have been removed from classrooms in some Catholic universities, outward signs of consecration are often minimized or missing altogether, and priests are often unidentifiable from the rest of the crowd. Not that we have to wear our religion on our sleeve, or push the sacred in someone's face, but we must be careful not to replace the profoundly sacred with the politically correct. We should never be afraid to bear witness to a loving Savior who so earnestly desires people to experience His provision in life. We should long, as He does, that more and more people may find the peace that surpasses all understanding, even in the midst of our terror-stricken society.

I admit there are times when I would like to slip unnoticed into a crowd. There are many times when traveling that I wish my attire didn't shout so loudly, "I'm available to talk about God." There are also those hot, humid days of a New York summer when I wish Francis had been attracted to a more Hawaiian style of dress. But then I recall all the Lord has done for me. I am reminded by my wear how Jesus embraced His cross willingly that I might know the love of the Father. I am challenged by how many others still need to know the provision of a merciful Lord. It is then that I joyfully put on my habit and take delight in the CROSS WE WEAR!
--From GrayFriar News, Summer '06 by Fr. Bernard Marie Murphy, CFR
How very excited I am to witness in person these beautiful brothers and sisters wearing their cross! I have received come and see dates for the Sisters and have purchased my airline tickets. The deal is sealed in my mind... and I'm hoping in God's as well!

How beautiful it is to see others living their lives and their faith the way I wish to live mine! Every time I am interacting with the Sisters (or Brothers) I am joyful. They radiate the love of Christ in such an awesome way. I wish to follow in their rule and truly live out the Gospel, which was always Francis's first and only mission. To live out the Gospel completely would mean that he would live out every aspect of Godly life and so the essence of his order was and is to ... live the Gospel. (I was trying to come up with some other way of saying it but there is no other way. It is simply that.)

I am so on fire for God and wish to serve His people always. How I wish that everyone knew the love of God! I want to further knowledge of His existence and mercifulness. I want for each person the rewards of God's eternal kingdom. For every person to see His Holy Face... oh! The joy I would know to know that everyone had that chance. How unworthy are we but how merciful is our God! And to think... someone, somewhere probably very close to me does not know the love and healing of Jesus Christ.

My most pleasing dream is adoring Him for all of eternity. I glimpse this dream at every Mass. I wish everyone could experience Mass and appreciate it for what it is!

I'm reminded of a song I like most of the time (it's one that you can definitely play too much) that goes:

"Come! Now is the time to worship!
Come! Now is time to give your heart!
Come! Just as you are to worship!
Come! Just as you are before your God!


One day every tongue will confess you are God.
One day every knee will bow..."

I know that a day will come that the Lord will judge us and some of us, out of our own idiotic choices - mistakes! - and decisions, will be damned for all of eternity. How my body aches at this thought. To know that there are people suffering such loveless existances is horrible. But I rejoice in knowing that, if I choose to follow Him and love Him and obey Him in all things, I am loved by a merciful, forgiving, all-together-wonderful God that will take me into His arms and cleanse me of all my impurities.

The thought of adoring Him for all of eternity gets me every time. I have to stop what I'm doing and just be still. Praised be our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, forever and ever!

I have asked myself many times what I feel I am being called to do exactly. 'What is it exactly that God is saying to me?' Well, it has always been this: 'Seek me in all things. I am your center. I am your focus. I am your one and your all. Forget *insert something*. It is nothing of importance compared to me. Come to me. Draw near. Take comfort in my presence.' It all sounds so silly and obvious when I say it outloud. When it is in my head though, it is so strong and loving. It does not sound silly when I hear or feel it from Him. I am moved at whisperings in my heart and though my words are inadequate, His awesomeness is beyond pefection in wisdom and profoundness.

And I question myself further... 'Where do you see the call for a religious vocation in that message? Isn't that what He is telling all of us? Does He not call all of us to take up our cross and follow after Him? Are we not all challenged to live out the Gospel, giving our lives completely and surrendering our wills totally to His supreme wisdom?' To which I reply, 'Yes. He does call all of us to Himself, to follow Him, to bear our cross, to surrender, submit, conform our wills completely and totally to His. But He calls me in a unique way. He calls me to Himself in a very real and radical way. He calls me further to walk with Him in the road to Himself through the life of a religious. He calls me to give up all things, literally, and to live out the Gospel in a radical way. You see, my words are quite inadequate in explaining this knowledge of the heart and soul. I cannot explain it to anyone. I just know. I'm sure there are many religious who could explain with great ease what I struggle to vocalize now. I am being called to literally give up everything that I own and follow Christ to teach His people and to serve them, to love them always and to share with them the beauty that is Christ Jesus. I will probably never be able to explain to myself or to anyone else what it is I feel or how it is I know. I just know. And when I know something like this, though I have never known anything of this grandeur or heard the whispering so clearly or felt the tug so strongly, I assume that it is a thing of God which humans were not meant to explain. Try as they may, I doubt we will, without God's willing it, ever be able to explain or fully comprehend how it is that we come to know God's will for us, especially the will to live a life of complete surrender and service. For truly, in this day and age and in most all the days and ages of the past, it has been considered extreme and radical to live with 'no money, no honey, and a boss'.



Blogger phatcatholic said...

awwwww! great post :D

9/23/2006 10:51:00 AM  

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