Sunday, I set up a display of books and a few articles for sale after a Mission given by Fr. Ben Cameron of the Fathers of Mercy at St. Rose Church in Murfreesboro, TN. Arriving early I was able to do a little writing and set up and attend the first talk of the 4 day mission. The Mission centered on the amazing Mercy of God and at the end of the Sunday conference we prayed the Chaplet of Divine Mercy which was quite moving. I felt somewhat showered by His love and His mercy. From the talk, I meditated mostly on whether or not in my own life I am truly following Christ' call or if I am following my own desire of what I want to be Christ' call for me. Ya see, I find it difficult to distinguish between the voices in my head. Is it you God or is it me hearing what I want You to say to me? Of course, we all must pray for the grace to hear God speak to us and to distinguish between our own wants and His. I realize that, but I also say, "easier said than done."
On the 40 minute drive, I had begun listening to a CD by Fr. Robert Barron from Lighthouse Media on Following the Call of Christ. I had no idea what the conference would be about and truly I just grabbed one of the CD's out of my console to pass the time. Fr. Barron and Fr. Cameron seemed to be in cahoots. Fr. Barron shared three stories from Scripture that he made very easy for me to relate to; the Man Born Blind, the Woman at the Well, and Jonah. Although I love the first two stories, Christ opening our eyes so that we may see and Christ forgiving us of all our past burdens, allowing us to leave that huge jar behind, I have to mention his talk on Jonah. Because, and of course this has happened, our reading yesterday was about Jonah. God really wants me to pay attention. Fr. Barron relates that Jonah does not want to go where God wants him to go, Nineveh, to do what God wants him to do, preach against wickedness. Jonah wants to go to Tarshish, mainly because the people there will not be as difficult. And, we all know the rest of the story. The storm at sea, Jonah booted overboard, swallowed up by the whale, remained in his belly for three days and then spewed upon the shore. The second request to go to Nineveh was obeyed, needless to say. And, the people and the animals listened to Jonah, repented and were saved. God wanted Jonah to follow His Call, His Way. Fr. Cameron's entire conference was on repentance, sacrifice, following His Way and not our own.
As the story of Jonah was read at Mass yesterday and as I heard the Gospel message, "“This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah", I had to stop and contemplate. "Am I following the Call of Christ?" "Am I seeking an easier way?" "Am I strong enough, do I have the courage, the fortitude, to listen to His Words and to follow His Way?"
Lord, give me the grace to listen and to hear and to follow. Your Will, not mine. "Easier said than done."