The Christian life is a whirl wind. Just for a minute think about Holy Week, the first Holy Week. Jesus goes from being loved all the way to being put to death and then He resurrects from the dead. In between He institutes the Eucharist at the Last Supper and the priesthood at the washing of the feet. He goes to pray in the garden and His best friends fall asleep. They promise to follow him and yet Our Lord is denied in that week. Jesus gave everything in that week…Jesus gives everything every week. Think about that. Gosh we are blessed.
As Christians we are called to be “little Christs” but I was thinking about my life and I have had big spiritual events and my own little crosses and resurrections but nothing as packed as the life of Christ. I know that I am called to give every moment to God though. I started to ask the question a few years ago; how can I give my life to the Lord? Many of you are probably thinking, ‘oh Bobby is great, he is following his call toward the priesthood’. Thank you but to be honest that’s a decision I have to make every day as well as the decision to give every moment to God, even in the little things. What guides us towards this though?
I was recently talking with another seminarian about how he realized his call to come to seminary and he told me a simple and yet profound story. For the sake of the blog the seminarian's name is Jeff. Jeff's brother was a few years behind him in school, but in high school Jeff’s brother asked him, “Jeff, what are you going to do with your life?” Jeff responded with, ‘Well I’m going to go to college.’ ‘Then what?’, his brother asked. ‘I’ll get a good job.’ ‘Then what?’ ‘I’ll find a pretty girl and settle down’ ‘Then what?’ ‘I’ll have a family’ ‘Then what?’ ‘Ummm, retire?’ ‘Then what?’ With sadness Jeff replied, ‘Well, I guess I die.’ ‘Then what?’
All be it every ‘Then what?’ got progressively more annoying the last one hit Jeff hard. Then what…
On the surface I could go on to discuss the need to reflect on the last things and how we need to repent from our sinful ways and believe in the gospel. That’s well and true, “REPENT AND BELIEVE IN THE GOSPEL” is one of my favorite phrases to yell in the hallway but I think there is something a little more in depth to look at. Why was Jeff’s brother so consistent in asking what was next in Jeff’s life? Maybe it was just the fact that he was an annoying little brother. Maybe, but I think the Holy Spirit used him, in a very simple way to bring to light the calling of God for Jeff. Daily the Holy Spirit is active in your life. Firstly, let us not forget that He is the third person of the Trinity. We see images of the dove and fire and wind and yes He has manifested himself in such a way but He is defined as a person. Sometimes the Holy Spirit is described as such: The Love between the Father and the Son was so great that it is another Person. How cool is that? Seriously though, Love itself is asking you to move.
LOVE ITSELF IS ASKING YOU TO MOVE. There was a song I sang back in the good ol’ youth group days that had the line, “Every move I make, I make in You, You make me move.” I’ve had some serious desolation in prayer in the last few months and when it is difficult to pray it can became easy to forget where we need to be moving. If you are having a rough time praying, know that you are nowhere near alone in that, and also I ask you to do me a favor. Go to your place, everybody’s got one, mine is out in our courtyard by a Mary statue, maybe yours is your room or a spot in the chapel or maybe you like to walk and pray, no matter what it is go there and just say this simple prayer: “Holy Spirit, I’m empty. Holy Spirit, I’m lonely. Holy Spirit, I long for your love. Fill me.” Sometimes desolation can be a positive thing, making us strong for the future but other times, at least in my own life, I have found that when I experience desolation it’s because I haven’t allowed myself to move toward the Lord. Matt Maher says it best when he says, “I was looking outside, as if love would ever want to hide.” I don’t know why I search for consolation in all these earthly things when the Holy Spirit is beckoning to us. Know that I am praying for you, whoever it is that reads this. We are called to make every move in God and for God. When we don’t we need to start asking the question, ‘Then what?’ It’ll take different steps for me and you but I know what the ultimate “then what” is. It’s to be loved. Forever. Perfectly.