Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Better Part Through Self-Abandonment

On this 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, we are reminded that to attain faith, the pearl of great price, life in company with Christ, we should surrender all. Far from an act of folly, such abandonment is wisdom, is understanding, is all good. Hence the beautiful 1st Reading from Wisdom 7:7-11, which illuminates the sense of Jesus’ invitation in the Gospel to the wealthy young man to leave all behind for the benefit of the poor and follow Christ unreservedly:

“I prayed, and understanding was given me; I entreated, and the spirit of Wisdom came to me. I esteemed her more than scepters and thrones; compared with her, I held riches as nothing. I reckoned no priceless stone to be her peer, for compared with her, all gold is a pinch of sand, and beside her silver ranks as mud. I loved her more than health or beauty, preferred her to the light, since her radiance never sleeps. In her company all good things came to me, at her hands riches not to be numbered.”

Too often we think of this leaving all behind to follow Christ unreservedly as the singular characteristic of a vocation to priesthood or the consecrated life, which indeed it is, though not exclusively. Actually, accepting fully the implications of the grace and calling we received in Baptism and which was then fortified in the Sacrament of Confirmation, the universal call to holiness, is closer to the point of the Gospel. Jesus' call is an invitation to communion of life with Him; ministry is something else. I would hope that preachers this Sunday would leave no one off the hook, but let Jesus speak to each and every one of the baptized, that all may recognize that Christ speaks as surely to them as He did to the rich young man.

Parents indeed know this, as their mutual surrender in matrimony leads if they are so blessed by God to the further shared and life-giving sacrifices of child-rearing  Personally, I see more of this abandonment  and the subsequent attainment of wisdom in the life of a saintly married couple than I do in that of the life of many a priest. If there is a shortage of vocations to priesthood and the consecrated life today it is also because Wisdom has not found a home in enough families. 

We pray that this Year of Faith might be a life-line to many a family. The radiance of Wisdom within the home will do the rest.


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