Saturday, January 21, 2012

Gone Fishing

These folks have gone fishing. They are common folk. There were political revolutionaries, a tax collector or two, some prostitutes, and a kind of rag tag group. They were all sinners of one sort or another, and not at all admired by the upright ones of the Temple. It was the likes of these that changed the world.
Long before these folks there was Jonah; he was told to go to Nineveh that great city and tell them to knock off their sin and corruption. He went the other way in defiance of what he knew was better, and went through an unfortunate episode with a big fish. He decided to pray from the belly of the whale and lo and behold, there was an upset tummy and he was spit up onto the shore. Finally he did go to the great city. He gave them fair warning. They listened to him and repented of their evil ways and then, as the story goes, God repented of the evil he had intended to do to them. For some reason Jonah got angry with God because of this success but there you go.
The encounter with God is never easy.
The fisherfolk encountered the Love of God made flesh and blood, and came to know him as Jesus. It seems so simple as we read the account of the call. "Follow me" is all he said, and they followed. They were not vetted, examined or educated in any way. He invited them. The followed.
My experience of call came out of those long and sleepless nights when I was a child wondering about what happened to my dad when he died. The trauma left me often sleepless fearful of nightmares.
It came to me in the silence of my heart.
"Don't you know there's a special place in my heart for your dad?"
The question came from the conversation I often had with the silence in my soul.
The silence became a Presence somewhere along the way.
And when I heard the question the Presence gave me, I exulted like a child playing in the waves at the ocean's edge.
And I decided to become a Priest.
39 years later, I wrote this prayer of Self-Dedication.
It speaks of the Silence that became a Presence to me.
In that Silence, I found God.
And not long afterward, the Love of God made flesh and blood found me.
We call that name Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Or Jesus.
Here is that prayer:

Now in the quiet of the day, I beckon to my soul and listen.

There is only silence

It is a silence I love to return to.

Because I am not alone there.

In that silence I come to my heart of hearts.

The silence becomes a Presence.

And comes to life in a way that invites me to love.

The Presence wants to love me.

I resist that.

But the silent Presence insists.

I look again into the mirror of my soul and see the mystery

It wells up within me to gratitude.

I search for a name for the mystery.

And then do I remember God.

I discover that God is there within my heart.

And God’s heart beats within me and among us.

There is a love that speaks to me.

And extends its Heart toward me and fills me.

I find myself aware and awake.

To the joy of life and sorrow of suffering; the ugliness of hateful violence.

The noble beauty of creative art,

The sin that destroys the self and seeks to destroy others.

God heart moves in mine and dispels the fear.

Hear the Word of God and listen

God requires justice, love, mercy and compassion

And Jesus reaches out his arms to the farthest ends of every human heart.

Here and I dedicate myself to Jesus.

In the poor and the homeless, the hungry and those who suffer.

The heart of Jesus moves in me, and the love of God

Knows no bounds.

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