The Gospel gives a more traditional view of calling. The first reading reminds us of the responsibilities that a calling entails.
I view calling as a daily event. There are the great moments when we are called to change, but there are the equally great moments when we are called to live out our previous commitments. The easiest moments are those when you feel called by name. You can’t miss it, even if you were only passively present at the invitation. For me the greater challenge is the daily listening for that call. This requires an active listening. Consider the Gospel. For Matthew the change was profound (giving up a bureaucratic job). Even so, I imagine that the daily recommitment to the cause was a greater challenge.
I am not by nature a good listener. I like taking charge. Listening places me in a submissive role. My family tells me that I enjoy the planning process more than I enjoy the experience of what I have planned. From generating a work plan to creating the shopping list for dinner I like mapping out the future. Here is where I encounter problems with listening for the call. In the daily process of listening for the call, in my prayer, I find it much easier to do an assessment and draw up action items based on that assessment. Even worse are the days that I finish so tired from commitments and responsibilities that my short term goal is getting to bed. I confess to falling asleep without addressing my call (or even listening to my spouse) more days than I would like.
The risk is the great moments give us the direction, but without regularly reviewing the direction and making appropriate corrections we may end up heading far from our goals. Our landmarks shift with time. Even the earth beneath our feet is not stationary.
The reading from Paul reminds us that we each have our own talents. We are called to recognize and use these talents. We are not encumbered by our histories. We are not expected to do everything. The Gospel reminds us of our need to be open to assistance in identifying these talents. Jesus recognized the talents that were present in Matthew that others were not able to discern. My feeling is that seeing Matthew in the role of customs officer I would not have recognized his potential for service to the early church.
My prayer today asks for the strength to listen and grace to change when I need to change and persevere when I need to persevere. I pray for the ability to recognize talent and for an openness that does not prejudge.
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