Sunday, February 01, 2015


Sunday Reflection: Dedication

As most of you know, I am not Catholic, but I do work at a Catholic law school.  This has (for the first time) brought me into regular contact with priests and nuns who have dedicated their lives to the vocation of faith.  They are imperfect, certainly, and I understand the criticism that some have of the problems that have arisen within Catholicism involving people who have chosen that path.  Still, their choice is remarkable.

One of my worst faults is that I am a part-time Christian.  Not by intention; really, but just because I find myself directed by other motivations. I have made very important decisions that were not rooted in my faith, and sometimes I didn't even consider my faith in making them.  Instead, I relied on what made sense to me at the time, or went along with what the world seemed to require of me at the time.  

When I see a nun, though, I am reminded what a soft luxury that is.  I can slip into some other persona seamlessly, and speak as a lawyer or a professor or a writer and let that be my persona at the moment.  I do, too.  They can't.  They are always expected to be a nun.  

It's a challenging thought to consider:  What if I gave up all of my other identities, as priests and nuns do?  Even when they are lawyers and professors and writers, that doesn't become their master status, even in a moment-- they are always defined by their vocation of faith.  What strength it would take to do that and do it well!

Imagine the struggle it must be to live such dedicated lives within the bounds of faith, doctrine and heart – and, as example, the courage found to speak out as the ‘Nuns on the Bus’ demonstrated during the last presidential election, the past midterms and continuing. . .

Daily awareness in thought, as expressed above, is faith lived out humanly – the Holy Spirit at work within. Daily decisions ours are seldom ‘sin’ elevated to mortal, and sins of omission reflected upon often resurface in memory when “at the time” reappears. . . The gift of life unshackles all to welcome, affirm, give, share and love. Life’s reality, events, encounters, influences, dictates, laws and doctrines intended for the mind bring order often intended – while stirring the heart to discern, struggle and challenge to respond in faith – faiths whose venial differences are often at the heart of ecumenical union denied.

While earthly visits are infinitely short, being called each in their own way and the dedication required summons a strength many believe they lack – strength often found in faith. All ‘are’ called and called to “do it well!”
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