Monday, September 2, 2019

September 8, 2019 Challenge to Total Dedication

September 8, 2019  Challenge to Total Dedication


Reading I: 
Wisdom 9:13-18 b

Psalm:  90

Reading II:  Philemon
9-10, 12-17

Gospel: 
Luke
14:25-33
  

In today’s Gospel, Jesus challenges His followers to total dedication to God and His mission.  However, the terminology He uses can be confusing unless put into context. Jesus says: “If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” Jesus couldn’t mean that literally because his whole message was to love.

Sometimes in Jesus’ time, as well as our own, we exaggerate in certain circumstances to emphasize a point.  Most likely you or one of your teenage friends expressed his or her concerns, by saying something like: If my mother or father catch me smoking, they would kill me! Although the teen might be strongly disciplined, it is very unlikely that he or she would be killed.

As I reflect on the cost of discipleship on the anniversary of my own entrance into the convent many years ago, I have a more comprehensive understanding of the sacrifices involved. Whether it be a vocation to the priesthood, consecrated life, marriage or single life, the sacrifices involved in each person’s calling, impact not only the individuals, but also their families and friends. Sometimes, those sacrifices are more costly to other people.

On a personal note, my parents were to have very limited contact with me.  Also, being an only child, any prospect of having grandchildren was gone. I can still remember my mother’s generous words: “I don’t think you would be happy anywhere else.” I was deeply aware of the sacrifice she was making at that time.

The families and friends of those in other lifestyles are also called to accept changes and adjust to the new circumstances to which the individual feels called. Once, I had a religious brother come to speak to my high school class on vocations. He shared the struggle he experienced when he proposed the idea of his joining the brotherhood. His father objected strongly because he wanted grandchildren from this son even though he had other children to provide them for him.

Friends can also have to make sacrifices of less contact whether it is because of distance or responsibilities of marriage or for other reasons. Basically, we all need to be respectful and open to the call to discipleship of our family and friends. Our willingness to let go and adjust to the new
circumstances is our sacrifice. 

Let us acknowledge that we are all God’s children and the call of each individual is special. Whatever our lifestyle we all have a vocation to love God, our neighbors, and ourselves. A friend of mine prioritized and lived it in the following way:
J esus first
O thers second
Y ourself last


 Reflection Question:  How can remembering to put God first enable us to let go of our loved ones when he gives them a special calling or when he finally calls them home?


Spanish Translation of Reflection Above...
Challenge to Total Dedication

In today’s Gospel, Jesus challenges His followers to total dedication to God and His mission.  However, the terminology He uses can be confusing unless put into context. Jesus says: “If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” Jesus couldn’t mean that literally because his whole message was to love.

A veces, tanto en el tiempo de Jesús como en el nuestro, exageramos en ciertas circunstancias para enfatizar un punto. Lo más probable es que usted o uno de sus amigos adolescentes hayan expresado sus preocupaciones diciendo algo como: Si mi madre o mi padre me pillaran fumando, ¡me matarían! Aunque el adolescente podría ser muy disciplinado, es muy poco probable que lo maten.

Al reflexionar sobre el costo del discipulado en el aniversario de mi propia entrada al convento hace muchos años, tengo una comprensión más completa de los sacrificios involucrados. Ya sea una vocación al sacerdocio, la vida consagrada, el matrimonio o la vida de soltero, los sacrificios involucrados en el llamado de cada persona impactan no solo a las personas, sino también a sus familias y amigos. A veces, esos sacrificios son más costosos para otras personas.

En una nota personal, mis padres debían tener un contacto muy limitado conmigo. Además, al ser hijo único, desapareció cualquier posibilidad de tener nietos. Todavía recuerdo las palabras generosas de mi madre: “No creo que seas feliz en ningún otro lado”. Estaba profundamente consciente del sacrificio que estaba haciendo en ese momento.

Las familias y amigos de aquellos en otros estilos de vida también están llamados a aceptar cambios y adaptarse a las nuevas circunstancias a las que el individuo se siente llamado. Una vez, tuve un hermano religioso que vino a hablar con mi clase de secundaria sobre las vocaciones. Compartió la lucha que experimentó cuando propuso la idea de unirse a la hermandad. Su padre se opuso enérgicamente porque quería nietos de este hijo a pesar de que tenía otros hijos para dárselos.

Los amigos también pueden tener que hacer sacrificios de menos contacto ya sea por la distancia o las responsabilidades del matrimonio o por otras razones. Básicamente, todos debemos ser respetuosos y abiertos al llamado al discipulado de nuestra familia y amigos. Nuestra voluntad de dejar ir y adaptarnos a lo nuevo las circunstancias son nuestro sacrificio.

Reconozcamos que todos somos hijos de Dios y que el llamado de cada individuo es especial. Cualquiera que sea nuestro estilo de vida, todos tenemos una vocación de amar a Dios, a nuestro prójimo y a nosotros mismos. Un amigo mío priorizó y lo vivió de la siguiente manera:

J esús primero
O tros segundos
Y ourself last - Ustedes mismos duran

 Pregunta de Reflexíon:  ¿De qué manera el recordar poner a Dios primero nos permite dejar a nuestros seres queridos cuando él les hace un llamado especial o cuando finalmente los llama a casa?


Comments:
Stephanie Morris, Ph. D, Historian, Certified Archivist, emerita
Mother Katharine told the Sisters that the spirit of the congregation was the “spirit of the Eucharist – the total gift of self.” We give ourselves when we let the Holy Spirit work through us to do what God wants to be done. We don’t have to work hard to change our lifestyles; we just have to open our hearts to the spirit of God speaking to us.

Pat Chiaffa, ASBS
This blog took me back to a treasured time past when, as a first-time young mother, my sweet infant son enraptured me. So pure and innocent, I felt as though I was seeing the face of God when I gazed at this precious being. Nurturing my baby satisfied my needs to the depths of my soul. Then, what seemed like overnight, my little angel started with the “no” word and life changed. 
It doesn’t take long to realize that a child has his or her own path to pursue. My role quickly shifted from caregiving to policing as I tried to keep his environment safe for him to discover and explore. Somewhere in this transition, my desire to control set in. At about that time, a song by Barbara Streisand, entitled “If I Could,” became popular. The words to that song helped me to strip myself of the illusion of ownership and gain a broader awareness of authentic parenting.
Barbara Streisand sings of wanting to protect her son from sadness, to give him “courage in a world of compromise,” to teach him “all the things she never learned,” help him “cross the bridges that she burned,” and “shield his innocence from time.” The words that really touched my heart were, “But the part of life I gave you isn’t mine…I’ve watched you grow so I could let you go.”
The letting go, for me, was difficult. However, the years went by and my baby made it through the terrible twos, the know-it-all teens, and achieved manhood. Today he is a devoted dad to his own children. My mantra now is, “Let go and Let God.” It is a good one, too, because my youngest son is still trying to find his way and I have learned that his journey is uniquely his. As the song continues, “My yesterday won’t have to be your way.”
Each of my sons has his own identity. It is interesting observing their choices and listening to their reasoning. I may not agree with them, but I respect their process. I am at peace knowing that we do share the same “true” identity as beloved of God, created by God for God. My role as mom at this stage is to remind them to be faithful to that identity and to encourage them to hold as sacred their relationship with God.  My ultimate dream is that when they are called Home, they will return to the Love that breathed them into existence. 

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