This reflection was written at the end of one of the most stressful weeks I have experienced in a long time. Consequently, the affirmation of today’s readings was a manifestation of God’s presence to me.
On the Feast of Saints Simon and Jude, the readings rightly reflect on discipleship. In the gospel Jesus selects and commissions the twelve chosen as Apostles from his many followers. From that band of twelve hearty Apostles the good news of salvation spread across the globe, the church took root and the history of human kind was changed when the force called “Christianity” was loosed upon the world. As Paul tells us in his letter to the Ephesians: “…we are members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the Apostles and prophets, with Christ as the capstone.”
So it is with each of us as the kingdom of God takes hold of us. For “We are no longer strangers and sojourners, but are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God.”
What got my attention today was the simplicity of Jesus’ preparation for one of his most important actions—the naming of his followers who were to preach the gospel, tell the Jesus story and provide the leadership of the nascent Christian community. Luke simply notes, “Jesus went up to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God.” How instructive for us. What excellent advice: to take all of our decisions to God in prayer. Again, the actions of Jesus provide for us a model to be imitated.
How often we fret, get anxious or even fearful to make decisions. How often we forget to invite God to be a partner in our decision-making. In prayer God can play the devil’s advocate-giving perspective, teasing the complexities from the decision(s) facing you, and neutralizing the fears and minimizing the risks. And in our deliberations God can provide peace in the final decision.
In recalling the “week that was”, I suspect, in hindsight, that I did not entrust these stressful times and challenging events to God in prayer; forgetting Mother Teresa’s admonition that “God made me not to be successful, but faithful.”
All of this can be summarized in St. Teresa of Avila’s prayer: “Let nothing disturb you, let nothing make you afraid. All things are passing. God alone never changes. Patience gains all things. If you have God you will want for nothing. God alone suffices.”
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