Sunday, January 22, 2012

 

Sunday Reflection: For God's Sake

Today I can write nothing better than what my friend and colleague Susan Stabile set out on her blog, Creo en Dios, yesterday, so I have pasted it in below. I would add that Susan is very much farther along that path than I am-- there's no doubt in my mind that I am far from living my life "for God's sake," and that for this is aspirational. Still, it is good to have an aspiration, right?

The other day I was back and forth with my friend Richard on e-mail about something. After I wrote a message explaining why the subject of our conversation was important to me, he responded, “Well, that and, you are an attorney, for God’s sake.” “Literally,” he added.

Although his intended use of “for God’s sake” in his sentence was as an exclamation for emphasis, I smiled at my friend’s wonderful afterthought. Although I am no longer a practicing lawyer, there is accuracy to the meaning conveyed by his phrase when one omits the comma from it: I am an Attorney for God’s Sake, as I am a Law Professor for God’s Sake, or a Retreat Director for God’s Sake, or any of the other descriptions I may use to explain my various roles.

If my life belongs to God, then there is no part of my life that is separate from my discipleship. Everything I am, everything do, is a response to God’s call. Everything I am and do is for God’s sake, for the furtherance of God’s plan for me and for the world.

And the same is true for you.

Who are you for God’s sake?

Comments:
To some extent, it is aspirational for all of us who seek to walk a path of discipleship. Sometimes we manage it better than others.

When I read your question about the aspiration being good, what came to mind is this prayer of Thomas Merton's that I have always loved:

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.

I do not see the road ahead of me.

I cannot know for certain where it will end.

Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.

And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
 
“If my life belongs to God, then there is no part of my life that is separate from my discipleship. Everything I am, everything do, is a response to God’s call. Everything I am and do is for God’s sake, for the furtherance of God’s plan for me and for the world.” – Susan Stabile

The miracle is not the life we’ve missed, but the life we’ve lived, a tapestry shaped from the calls we have responded to, to a discipleship that is ours.

Aspirations can be very strong, motivating and inspirational in many, if not most, aspects of life. Once acknowledged, they are rewound and replayed often as whispered reminders of calls to the furtherance of God’s plan, reminders that can no longer be denied.

The realization that our life belongs to God is a blessing, a precious gift that we do not have to earn or save for, a gift that we do not have to study and pass a test to receive, a gift that is not a prize we must win, a gift that does not come as a reward for emeritus service or performance. Our precious gift of life is a gift that is given freely and with one request. A request that we reverence, nurture and share our gift with all of creation. It is a simple request that we often have difficulty sharing easily and openly.

Who am I for God’s sake? One of many, secure in the knowledge that life is a gift filled with doubts and aspirations - an unknown journey we travel not alone.
 
The lord is not my shepherd, for I am not a sheep to be fleeced.
 
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