Sunday, February 04, 2007
"Put out into deep water..."
Father Martin Fox has an incredible post today about putting out into deep waters; how we the laity are called to sanctify the world. And it's true; just as Jesus saves us, the Holy Spirit empowers us to go and make disciples of all nations.
But it is not an easy task, for to walk in the Lord's footprints requires sacrifices consistent with our own state in life. No, we are not all called to die for Jesus Christ; we are not all killed for claiming to be Christian, but we ARE called to take stock of what we have been given and we are called to use those gifts to further God's Kingdom. Nothing we have really belongs to us, for it has all been given according to God's will.
At each step, we have to ask ourselves; am I doing this for God's glory...or my own?
And when the Lord calls us to "cast into the deep", he, in a sense, erases this issue, for when we don't know what's going to happen, we cannot face the temptation of knowing that the result will benefit us in some way. But we have to trust, for God will not ask us to do something which is harmful. He will not hand us a stone if we ask for a loaf.
Instead, Jesus stands there before us, empty-handed, and calmly asks us to trust in Him, to trust what he knows, and even if we have labored hard with no results, to try one more time....
My post was partially inspired by Father Fox, but also by my own Pastor's homily this morning at Mass. I feel like I'm being called to make a certain sacrifice that I don't want to make. The words of this Gospel are speaking to me so strongly that I can't escape them, yet I cannot act impulsively and risk misinterpreting God's directive to me.
If I make this sacrifice, it means giving up something very close to my heart, something I've desired for a very long time. Yet by this sacrifice, others will benefit, and in a sense, it is like a debt I owe from my own childhood. Although my sacrifice, overall, won't mean much to anyone, it could still make a difference to SOMEONE; only God knows. If I am truly being called to this, then it's necessary, it's needed, and whatever happens, this gift never belonged to me, anyway.
Yet if I make the wrong decision, I give up something in vain that perhaps God does want of me.
I am reminded of Abraham being ready to provide his only son, Isaac, as a holocaust. This isn't quite so severe a sacrifice, however, the point is still there. Is this what God is asking of me?
Or am I completely romanticizing it in my overly-passionate way of looking at things?
Who am I to know or understand the will of God?
My net is ready, but I don't think I've even stepped into the boat yet. Because once I step into that boat, there's no turning back, nothing to do but to cast my net into the deep and trust in the Lord.
Each one of us has dilemmas to face, callings to discern, nets to cast into deep water. Each one of us is being called to offer something specific for the benefit of someone else, even to the detriment of ourselves.
I've been reading a lot lately about attachments and interior motives, which are more about attachments to ourselves and our will as opposed to attachment to God alone. I know that I cannot liberate myself from my attachments in order to have pure love and devotion for God alone; and God knows this. He rewards our every effort, and draws us onward, accepting the smallest sacrifice even if made imperfectly. It is only through these small sacrifices that we can move on to larger. It is only through this process that we can grow in faith and trust, and sometimes he asks us to take a greater leap than for which we feel we are prepared.
And that is all about trust. Trust that even if we take a misstep, that He will be there, wipe our tears, bandage our wounds, and lead us onward. Sometimes we can cast our nets with such enthusiasm that we follow them overboard and lose most of the catch. God is not without humor; he will simply help us back into the boat, fish the net out of the water and place it back into our hands again. And again, if necessary. We may be drenched, cold, shivering, and humiliated, but the Lord still asks for our service, and He will never stop loving us or give up on us.
There's a boat waiting; are you ready to take that first step, knowing that once Jesus pushes the boat away, the only thing to do is to cast into the water and place your whole being into the hands of the Lord?