Future Priests of the Third Millennium

A little insight into the life of seminarians from various dioceses preparing for ministry as Roman Catholic priests, including daily activities, personal interests, special events, the spiritual life, news from the seminary, and almost whatever comes to our minds!

Monday, October 27, 2008

God Calls Everyone to Live and Love Like Saints

This week Deacon Michael Johnson has authored the reflection on the Sunday Scriptures for The Catholic Spirit. His reflection follows.


What is your purpose in life? What are your aspirations? What do you hope to accomplish?

As a young man of our culture, not too distantly removed from high school and only a couple of years out of college, those questions have been asked of me many times. These, however, are rhetorical questions; there really is only one answer. Whether we are male or female, Cath­o­lic, Protestant, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim or even atheist, there is still only one answer. Our purpose, our hopes, our aspirations, our existence is summed up in this one, simple statement in the Cate­chism of the Catholic Church: “The life of man — to know and love God.”

In this Sunday’s Gospel, a scholar of the law asks Jesus: “Teacher, what is the greatest commandment?” Jesus responds: “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment; a commandment that Jesus places upon us with no conditions. Yet, only the saints and cloistered monks can do this, right?

In my own life, I can see that I can hardly rise to the lofty expectation Jesus places upon all of us. Unlike Jesus, I often want to add conditions to loving God with all my heart, soul and mind. I want to dodge the issue by adding, “After I finish this paper,” “If you answer this prayer” or “When I have the time.”

Jesus affords us no such reprieves from this commandment; Jesus wants each and every person to be as devoted to God as the saints are. We are called to be saints. To see the totality of this commitment, we turn to Deuteronomy 6:5, which Jesus quoted to answer the question posed to him. Not only are we to love God with our whole heart, soul and strength, we are to bind this commandment on our arms and preach it ceaselessly to our children. We are to speak of our love for God while we are busy or at rest; at home or abroad. We are to write it on our doorposts. For every one bumper sticker we see proclaiming our loyalty to a presidential or senatorial candidate, we should see 100 proclaiming our fidelity and love of God.

Though it is the first and greatest commandment that we are striving to follow, it is not an easy one to keep. Yet nonetheless, we are called to strive toward reaching it daily. Mercifully, we are not alone in this endeavor; God for his part calls us ceaselessly, seeking us. As our creator, he wants us to share in his blessed life; he wants us to be saints. He went so far as to send his only son, Jesus Christ, to be our savior and make us his adopted sons and daughters.

Let us, therefore, seek to live the great calling that we have received upon our creation each and every day, so that we may know and love God for all eternity as his saints in heaven.


J. Thorp said...

Amen! (And another illustration of the difference between simple and easy ...)

Jeremy said...

We are all called to be great saints . . . don't miss the opportunity.

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