10.19.2010

Me, Me...Choose Me!

Just before going to Mass the other day, I handed my daughter a little booklet called "My Mass Book" (not the one pictured, although I like the other two books I have by these authors).  It was a nice little booklet to help her follow along during our hour of prayer and worship.  Her response to the booklet was luke warm to say the least and she held it as if it were a dirty sock or something.  I knew she would not take the book into Mass, but I had hope that she might.  After Mass, I found the booklet neglected in the back of the van (at least it got that far).

I did not beg her to use it or reprimand her for not, instead I gave it to a friend of ours who is the same age as she is.  This friend gleefully took it and I'm sure will have it in her hands the next time we see her at church.  My daughter missed out on this little booklet by her own choosing.

It made me think about the gifts and opportunities God is giving me daily to move where He needs me, when He needs me.  He has this complex and well thought out plan for the entire world and I have my small role to play.  We all do.  However, there are days, even years where I hold God's gifts in my hands like a dirty sock and then neglect them in the back of the van.  My exuberance is lacking and I can be too focused on my own problems and the events just in front of me.  In these times I'm not aware or even care that God has given me something that could, not only help me to be more fully alive and conscience of Him working in the world, but bring a part of His plan into fruition. 

God, however, doesn't beg and plead that I accept these opportunities to participate in His will.  Instead, I believe he passes the task on to someone more willing. He may start with me because I have been willing in the past or the task is most suitable for me, but His work does not stop just because I am uninterested.  As Isiah 55:11 says, "So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it."

No, actually I think God finds someone who is willing to accept the gift as I did with the booklet.  When Jesus came 2,000 years ago, He came to save the "lost sheep of house of Israel." They were His chosen people also known as the Jews.  When they did not accept Him (at least most of them didn't) He gave His gift to the rest of us.  Jesus even hints at this before His death and resurrection in Matthew 15:9-12 which reads:

Then Jesus went from that place and withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out, "Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon." But he did not say a word in answer to her. His disciples came and asked him, "Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us."

He said in reply, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." But the woman came and did him homage, saying, "Lord, help me." He said in reply, "It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs." She said, "Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters." Then Jesus said to her in reply, "O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish." And her daughter was healed from that hour.
The Canaanite woman, even though she was not from the "house of Israel" and thus not technically a child of God, had great faith, more so than most God's chosen people, and so her prayer was answered.* 

When my faith is flickering and I don't take on my part in God's plan, someone else will.  Someone who is eager to participate and cooperate with God, such as the Canaanite woman or my daughter's friend.  This, however, is no consolation to me.  What have I missed out on?  What gifts have I left unopened that have now been passed on?  I never want to miss out again.  If God gives me a Mass Booklet, I want to take it, read it, use it as much as I can and then pass it on gleefully. 

If only my daughter would have used that booklet one day.  It was her loss.  Thankfully, the booklet has been passed on to someone more willing.  That doesn't mean I won't try again with my daughter just as God keeps trying with me.

*Note: because Jesus--God made man- -died and rose again and then went to heaven, we all are now children of God...even you reading this right now... it's just a matter of  knowing it and accepting this great gift of God's Grace.  No more eating the scraps left for the dogs.  We are all welcome to feast at the table. 

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